The dictionary meaning of the word ‘progressive’ is ‘favoring or advocating progress, change, improvement; and The Progressive Educators’ Certificate course offered by TREE explores what it means to be a ‘progressive educator’.
So, who is a progressive educator?
First and foremost, a progressive educator is always ready to learn and is not afraid to admit that she does not know. As adults we often become complacent about our knowledge and skills. A progressive teacher is quick to realize that learning is a life -long process and stretches out of her comfort zone to learn anew.
Secondly, a progressive educator encourages questions from her students and deliberately builds up a thinking culture in the classroom. Through constant interactions between the teacher and the students, and among the students themselves, the classroom environment is a vibrant one where discussions, debates and arguments are encouraged, thereby making the students realize that learning is an active- two-way process and not a passive one.
Possibly one of the most crucial aspects of a progressive educator in today’s world is her knowledge and comfort with internet, online teaching tools and and AI. The progressive teacher needs to keep herself constantly updated and be ready to incorporate these.
Fourthly, a progressive educator understands the difference between imparting knowledge and teaching skills to students. Realising the value of both, she deliberately and effectively teaches twenty-first century skills (critical reading, research, problem solving, collaboration etc.)
Giving effective feedback to students plays a crucial role in the teaching- learning process. A progressive educator is able to diagnose gaps in learning and spends considerable time and effort in providing thoughtful feedback to students.
Last but not the least, a progressive educator deliberately builds up a positive classroom culture. This is created on the bedrock of a strong relationship between the teacher and her students. The classroom becomes a safe and encouraging space where the students learn happily. They imbibe a growth mindset, learn to develop grit, resilience and empathy from the teacher who models all these qualities each and every day in the classroom.