chapter  4
12 Pages

The Progressive Paradigm

The progressive paradigm, often used as a point of contrast to signify the “new” curriculum versus the essentialist or “old” curriculum, has in fact been around in one form or another for centuries. When the Roman educator, Quintilian, proclaimed “the Doctrine of Interest” in the 1st Century A.D., his point was that the curriculum is best determined by the interest of the learner, an idea that centuries later became a cornerstone of progressive educational thought. Quintilian wrote that students should study what they want to study because subject matter forced upon the learner has little positive lasting effect and considerable lasting negative effect. He also concluded that corporal punishment hardened the heart of the child and that it was pedagogically unsound. This idea, too, would in time take its place in the progressive worldview.