For the first time I have laid witness to John Deweys’ guiding principles of progressivism within a classroom. I had an opportunity to speak to 4 sessions of 8th grade science classes at SAAS and found how student centered learning can be operated. These kids were given the materials to explore what interests them and came prepared with questions about what they found. This active inquiry based system allowed for the students to draw lessons from the content and engage their curiosity for how our lab did things, the process of getting us to our findings, how much it cost, personal stories of the pediatric patients etc. They were very interested in the stories behind the science, and this engagement I attribute to this experimental learning, and the way the teacher let the individual pupil difference influence instruction.
I am all about inspiring optimism for societies future, mixing up the disciplines across ages, and can appreciate the sentiments of school as “home”, class as “family” and teacher as “parent-guardian”. I can teach the content and find ways to provide for that lifelong means of intellectual development. There is a pendulum that swings between student centered vs. knowledge/society-oriented education and I believe that in the moderation between the two, we can find relief.