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International Handbook of Progressive Education

Edited By Mustafa Yunus Eryaman and Bertram C. Bruce

The International Handbook of Progressive Education engages contemporary debates about the purpose of education, presenting diverse ideas developed within a broadly conceived progressive education movement. It calls for a more critical and dynamic conception of education goals as a necessary element of a healthy society. The scope is global, with contributing authors and examples from around the world. The sweep includes past, present, and future. Even for those who lament its failures, progressive education still seems to be asking the right questions. There is a vision, the progressive impulse, which goes beyond educational practice per se to include inquiry into a conception of the good life for both individuals and society. Because progressivists tend to dispute the status quo and the extent to which it nurtures that good life, there is an underlying critical edge to progressive thinking, one that has sharpened in recent progressive education discourse. The handbook’s inquiry into progressive education starts with a number of intriguing and difficult questions: How has progressive education fared in different contexts? How do progressive methods relate to ideas of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching? And do they «work»? If progressive education offers an important alternative, why has it often been ignored, abandoned, or suppressed? What is the relevance of its tenets, methods, and questions in the new information age and in a world facing global changes in environment, politics, religion, language, and every other aspect of society?
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Chapter Eleven: Education in New Zealand: A Revered Past, a Contested Present, and an Uncertain Future


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Education IN New Zealand

A Revered Past, a Contested Present, and an Uncertain Future


The University of Auckland, New Zealand


In this chapter, progressive education in New Zealand is examined across three eras. The “revered past” (1870s–1960s) focuses on the influence of progressive ideas on the early childhood movement from the establishment of the first kindergarten in 1889 and on the schooling sector from the 1930s to the 1960s. The “contested present” (1970s–2011) examines the attack on progressive education in schools in line with the economic downturn from the 1970s onward and contrasts this with the strengthening of the early childhood movement in the 1990s. The “uncertain future” (2012–) looks at how current government policy is continuing to marginalise progressive ideals in favour of market-led educational decision making, but how educators are reclaiming the progressive space with the support of the wider community. This, however, is an ongoing political struggle.


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