The Evolution of Education During the Progressive Era

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The end of the nineteenth century brought an explosion of change to American culture. This change came in the form of economic opportunities, massive immigration, and social reforms. As society progressed into a deeper state of industrialism, Americans adapted to a new way of life that accompanied the flourishing industries. Amid the economic and political changes that were occurring during the late nineteenth and early twentieth century, social issues began to surface and called for a diverse array of reforms. Among the wide range of social problems that Americans sought to address was the issue of education. The schools began to experience a paradigm shift within the classroom. The classroom was evolving into an environment that would appropriately prepare American children for the shifting culture that was transpiring outside the school. The purpose of the classroom underwent a transformation in the early 1900s as new classroom practices were adopted that focused largely on the development of the student not only academically, but also socially. Educational ideology entered into a period of transformation in which American citizens began to view the classroom as an environment that was student centered. There was a paradigm shift in regards to the type of learners that children were, as well as how to best teach them. They were no longer viewed as passive, but rather active learners, who were best taught by women, and responded more appropriately to positive reinforcement as opposed to stern discipline. The curriculum was also viewed as something that needed to not rely wholly on books, but rather incorporate elements of the world outside the classroom. American citizens began to focus more on the role of the public school and the impact it had on society. The public school evolved into an institution focused on not only academic instruction, but also the development of skills that were necessary to instigate, as well as adapt to the cultural changes that


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