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A Progressive Education?How Childhood Changed in Mid-Twentieth-Century English and Welsh Schools$
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Laura Tisdall

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781526132895

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: May 2020

DOI: 10.7765/9781526132901

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What is a progressive education?

What is a progressive education?

(p.25) 1 What is a progressive education?
A Progressive Education?

Laura Tisdall

Manchester University Press

This chapter explores how ‘utopian progressive’ and ‘non-utopian progressive’, or ‘child-centred’, educationalists developed two fundamentally opposed sets of ideas about the capabilities, development and potential of children. Having demonstrated that utopian progressivism had relatively little impact on mainstream educationalists and on the significant series of inter-war reports produced by the Board of Education, the chapter defines what practices and ideas were signified by a ‘child-centred’ education before 1945. The simultaneous commitment to providing an ‘individual’ and a ‘natural’ education for children introduced an inherent tension into this pedagogical programme. However, this tension was largely dormant during the inter-war period itself, as early child-centred experiments such as the Malting House School dealt with small groups of children, and so were able to provide a genuinely individualised education. Citizenship, a key goal for child-centred educationalists, was also conceived of in more individualistic terms in the 1920s and 1930s than after the advent of a collectivistic welfare state in the 1940s.

Keywords:   Progressive, Psychoanalysis, Psychology, Childhood, Schooling

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