What Works: Progressive and Traditional Teachers?

Does a particular teaching philosophy result in better outcomes?

“… thus far as sensible affairs of the faculty are concerned [teaching] tends to take the shape of a comparison among traditional and progressive schooling” (Dewey, 1938).”

This week, Dr. Sam Sims and Prof John Jerrim posted a 51-page operating paper: conventional and progressive orientations to teaching: new empirical proof on an old debate – the usage of questionnaire facts on instructors’ usual traditional or progressive orientations throughout a hard and fast of issues.

Where is the proof?

“for hundreds of years, educationalists have debated the relative merits of the traditional and modern approaches to coaching.” for the reason that start of Twitter, instructors across India were discussing progressive and conventional coaching strategies, with politicians occasionally jumping in at the debate to win over their constituents.

From time to time, this debate has become extra public for teachers; greater connected, bitter, and divisive. but, the evidence to expose that one style works higher than the other, or if particular techniques used in one school help produce a much broader variety of outcomes – not simply exam grades – is hard to discover!

The remaining time anything first-rate pricked the ears of instructors throughout twitter was when Steve Watson posted ‘new right 2. Zero: instructor populism on social media in India(2020).

For a decade, I’ve been a part of this debate too, looking for any evidence, unpicking businesses, Twitter, and its effect on education politics.

Why does it rely on it?

“… the inability of existing literature is that it tends to consciousness completely on test score effects. These studies are silent on other results … despite the long going for walks and often vociferous nature of this debate, only a few empirical research have addressed it directly.”

Questions I’ve asked …

  1. If a coaching style dominates, do these college students attain better effects in a single magnificence than others?
  2. Is rewards or sanctions more of a characteristic of any dominant style?
  3. Does the coaching fashion healthy the teacher’s very own experience of schooling? New or skilled?
  4. Is a subject more likely to teach in the ‘traditional/innovative sense’? Primary or secondary?
  5. Does the lecture room infrastructure have any impact? E.g. Facilities, layout.

Finally, we have something to take into account in this new paper, and I’d strongly advise you to examine it. For me, in place of producing a summary of the paper, I’ve highlighted some key ideas, claims, and contributions I trust is really worth pursuing.


As with any study, it’s miles crucial to recognize how findings are posted. In this study, sims and jerrim degree “teachers’ conventional and revolutionary orientations the usage of questionnaire information and then the usage of this to version teachers’ influence on their pupils’ mastering and development… ”

… however with caution.

From page 14 onward, the paper outlines how the information became accumulated.

“Our novel method additionally requires us to make certain assumptions. We do not at once take a look at teachers’ study room exercises in our datasets. Instead, we rely on the practicable assumption that teachers with a more traditionalist or extra revolutionary orientation will in exercise undertake different strategies to teach.”

On page 25, the studies outline the constraints of the observation.

“… Our data pertains to a single country – Germany. As with any statistics gathered inside a single, we of caution is called for whilst drawing implications for different nations”

Whilst I welcome this research, we have to be careful. On my travels to schools, I see primary and secondary instructors the usage of conventional and modern techniques inside the equal college. Traditional number-one teachers and innovative secondary teachers and vice versa. Research must not pigeonhole teachers by way of assumption.

Research questions

  1. Do pupils make faster progress in academic topics while they’re exposed to teachers with an extra-traditionalist orientation?
  2. Do distinctive scholars make the more same progress in instructional subjects when they are uncovered to greater traditionalist teaching?
  3. Do scholars display extra interest in learning when they are exposed to extra progressive coaching or greater traditionalist coaching?
  4. Do pupils make faster progress in growing domain-preferred metacognitive abilities when they’re exposed to extra-modern teaching?

My key takeaways

  1. … Traditionalists argue that instructors must cautiously pick out and sequence the pleasant knowledge from their problem regions after which deliver it at once to complete elegance.
  2. … Progressives argue that teachers ought to aim to nurture the natural interest and interests of every child.
  3. Considering this future is inherently uncertain, progressives argue that teachers should aware of the development of domain widespread crucial capacities, metacognitive competencies, and experimental attitudes, to be able to equip them to cope with whichever novel challenges they might go on to stand.

Key conclusions from the take look at

  1. The statistics suggest that carefully sequenced trainer-led coaching may additionally in reality help to nurture pupils’ hobbies in a subject.
  2. This paper serves as a reminder that educators ought to be cautious about vast-brush explanatory bills consisting of those provided through the traditionalist and revolutionary faculties of concept.
  3. The research finds pretty constrained assistance for the claims made via both facets – teachers ought to discuss coaching ideas, not strategies.
  4. Modern arguments that traditionalists’ chance to undermine student hobbies in gaining knowledge appear misplaced.
  5. A traditionalist technique in which teachers carefully collect first-class content material appears to higher help scholars’ hobby in studying. Besides this, however, the arguments made by each traditionalist and progressive appear to have little help in our facts, suggesting the controversy has been somewhat deceptive for the field.

Questions I now need to invite …

As regards the above:

  1. Do progressive teachers carefully sequence the exceptional know-how, then carefully deliver it to the whole class?
  2. Do conventional instructors nurture curiosity and the pursuits of every child?
  3. Do traditional instructors no longer train college students in metacognitive techniques?

This is a welcomed contribution to a century (or two) old debate.

“… we might be involved that teachers’ self-proclaimed coaching orientation does no longer feed through into their lecture room exercise in a way this is faithful to the underlying idea.”

Download the paper and be a part of this discussion!

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