Between Perennialism and Progessivism: A Reflection on a Pedagogical Choice for Effective Child Development
Keywords:development, pedagogy, philosophy of education, perennialism, progressivism
With the task of the philosopher of education beset with several challenges and theoretical underpinnings regarding what kind of pedagogy and curriculum suits the moral and personal development of the child, various approaches have been postulated. In the present study, we prune these theories to perennialism and progressivism. There have been divergent views as to whether or not either or both of these serve the interest of the child better. What then is Perennialism? What is Progressivism? What makes each of these theories a preferred pedagogic theory for the child? Are there any places of connection and/or discord between these theories? Are they both necessarily at logger heads? In this essay, we argue that progressivism and perennialism portray shades of truth about child teaching and development that is unique and distinct to each. As human societies and social consciousness are not univocal, it is the submission of this essay that it is the task of the educator to align any of the two education theories with the yearning of the community which is where the input of education of the child is made manifest. Main persons for philosophical investigation of perennialism for us are Robert Maynard Hutchins, Mortimer J. Adler, and Sir Richard Livingstone whereas important persons for progressivism are John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and especially John Dewey. Perennialism holds the view that teachers should teach issues that are of general importance to man and focus on them. Progressivists believe that education cannot be always the same and it is always in the process of development: it must be life itself, and learning has be linked to the interests of the child, which must be carried out by solving specific social and educational problems.
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