Progressive education in Australia and why the history of education still matters

Dean's Lecture Series 2015 Presented by Melbourne Graduate School of Education

Across the twentieth century, progressive education in Australia promised wide-ranging reform of the organisation and aims of schooling and brought the social purposes of public education into sharp relief. It re-imagined the role of schooling in relation to community, citizenship, identity and the challenges of modernity, and it connected Australian educators to international ideas and debates.

Professor McLeod will examine different waves of progressive education, from the internationalist child-centred progressivism of the interwar period to the flourishing of radical agendas and open-plan experiments of the 1970s. She will consider the forms of curriculum and the types of future citizens that progressive education valued as well as those it excluded from view. The ideas and legacies of progressive education will also be explored in relation to larger questions about the place of historical perspectives and inquiry in contemporary educational research and debates.

Julie McLeod is Professor in Curriculum, Equity and Social Change at the Melbourne Graduate School of Education.