John Dewey, author of Democracy and Education, believed that instruction should be child-centered and that education should meet the needs of the whole person. Learning was a social activity and should be related to real life experience. Progressives believed that “education be a continuous reconstruction of living experience.” Dewey believed in hands-on learning, a step away from the traditional style of teaching. Dewey’s theory is that society is formed through its individuals, not intelligence, and it is the responsibility of the schools to foster responsible democratic citizens. The social practices of schools should reflect the democratic principles of society.
Francis Parker Known as the “father of progressive education” advocated placing the child at the center of education and building schools around their students' motivation and interests at a time when public schools were dominated by recitation, memorization, and drilling (Olson, 2004).
Montessori for example has influenced the progressive movement with her writing and methods. According to Julian Weissglass one of Montessori's central practices was respect for the child’s intelligence: “And so we discovered that education is not something which the teacher does, but that it is a natural process which develops spontaneously in the human being.”
“A Hypertext History of Instructional Design.” http://www.coe.uh.edu/courses/cuin6373/idhistory/progressive_movement.html February 6, 2009.
Bredo, E. "Cognitivism, Situated Cognition, and Deweyian Pragmatism." Philosophy of Education 1994.
Dewey, John. (1926 ). Democracy and Education. New York: Macmillan
Manzo, K. K. (May 19, 1999) The State of Curriculum. Education Week
Olson, L. (May 19, 1999) Tugging at Tradition. Education Week
Weissglass, J. (May 19, 1999) Curriculum and Society. Education Week