Essay on the progressive teacher

As a well renowned advocate of progressive teaching and leader of literacy studies, Paulo Freire was decidedly right in his assessment that progressive teachers need to be humble to respect their students. According to Noddings (2005), students and teachers must work together and foster critical thinking in the learning process. However, this can only be possible when teachers adopt a collaborative education process. The best way for teachers to succeed in this system is by adopting the virtue of humility. Through this, teachers will accept the fact that they know some things and are ignorant of others. Therefore, they will be willing to learn and listen to students just as they teach and speak their thoughts. Hence, through this process, teachers will be able to embrace democratic classroom rather than authoritative setting where the teachers directly fill in the minds of the students. Indeed, in the experiential learning, only a humble teacher accepts the students’ findings and critical thoughts which are contrary to the teacher’s ideas (Ravitch, 2000).
A humble teacher brings in a sense of democracy to the classroom. This gives students freedom for active participation. In addition, humility favors a two way learning environment which is vital for experiential learning. Thus, students in this learning system find it easy to develop strong problem solving and critical thinking skills. Moreover, it promotes lifelong learning and social skills since students learn by discovery. The only notable limitation with the humble progressive teachers is that they can allow students to manipulate curriculum. Here, the students influence the development of curriculum and ensures that it suits their interests. Thus, if a teacher fails to guide them effectively in the process, the curriculum might not meet its intended purpose (Schutz, 2010).


Noddings, N. (2005). What Does it Mean to Educate the Whole Child? Educational Leadership, volume 63, no 1
Ravitch, D. (2000). Left Back: A Century of Battles over School Reform. New York, Simon and Schuster.
Schutz, A. (2010). Social Class, Social Action, and Education: The Failure of Progressive Democracy. New York, Palgrave Macmillan.