Our Approach to Progressive Education

Einstein Academy integrates progressive education throughout its program. Progressive education is deeply aligned with Jewish learning and finds its roots in experience, emphasizing learning by doing and integrating the curriculum around themes or driving questions with an emphasis on the skills that will be needed in the future, as the Jerusalem Talmud (Brachot 5) says, "If you understand the why and wherefore of what you learn, you do not forget it quickly."

 

Progressive education involves a strong emphasis on life-long learning, problem solving, critical thinking, collaboration, and social-emotional learning. It values highly personalized, differentiated learning that puts the student at the center, with the teacher as the guide of that learning and uses authentic means of assessment, evaluating student learning through projects and real-world tasks. Additionally, progressive education emphasizes the community and service learning, encouraging students to consider their impact on society and their obligation to do good.

What does the research say about progressive education?

  • Students learning through this type of learning retain content longer and have a deeper understanding of what they are learning. (Penuel & Means, 2000; Stepien, Gallagher & Workman, 1993)

  • In specific content areas, this learning has been shown to be more effective than traditional methods for teaching math, economics, language, science, and other disciplines. (Beckett & Miller, 2006; Boaler, 2002; Finkelstein et al., 2010; Greier et al., 2008; Mergendoller, Maxwell, & Bellisimo, 2006)

  • Students demonstrate better problem-solving skills in progressive classes than in more traditional classes and are able to apply what they learn to real-life situations. (Finkelstein et al., 2010)

  • Through these experiences, students improve their ability to work collaboratively and resolve conflicts. (Beckett & Miller; ChanLin, 2008)

  • Student-centered learning can work in different types of schools, serving diverse learners. (Hixson, Ravitz, & Whisman, 2012)

  • In progressive classrooms, students demonstrate improved attitudes toward learning. They exhibit more engagement, are more self-reliant, and have better attendance than in more traditional settings. (Thomas, 2000; Walker & Leary, 2009) 

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