Dr. Vito Perrone once remarked, “We should all exert caution every time we hear that something related to schools is new. It usually means that those speaking of the new haven’t chosen to examine the historical record.” It is therefore with humility and reverence for the giant shoulders on which we stand that we work toward our dream to design a graduate school of education. Through the Progressive Education Institute, we aspire to build an enduring institution that will prepare the most inspiring, effective teachers this country has seen. Our plan is to create a new approach to teacher preparation while showcasing our obsession with exquisite instruction.
Our approach to teacher preparation is informed by the rich tradition of progressive pedagogy. And the tenets of progressive pedagogy simultaneously foster and demand a sophisticated intellectual capacity from teachers. We see teachers as intellectuals who are perfectly capable of making complex decisions in classrooms and in schools, not cogs in a machine following someone else’s script. We believe, therefore, that learning to become a great teacher is not about acquiring a set of prescribed techniques to be copied and repeated; it’s about developing an understanding so deep that it can be applied in any teaching situation. That understanding comes at the intersection of study, observation, practice, struggle, and reflection. It comes through collaboration and persistence and profound effort. This, among other reasons, is why I have immense respect for teachers. And as we work to create the ideal learning community in which new teachers are developed, we are humbled by how much we are learning ourselves.
It is an incredible feeling to be part of this community that is creating something new together from the ground up. The revolution is happening here – and it is the most important and exciting work we can imagine.