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

Deans lecture series 2015

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About the lecture

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.

About the speaker

Professor Julie McLeod

Professor Julie McLeod

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

She holds an Australian Research Council Future Fellowship (2012-2016), is the Deputy Director of the Melbourne Social Equity Institute and a Co-Editor of the international journal Gender and Education.

Professor McLeod began her career as a secondary school teacher and previously worked at Deakin University in women's studies and education. Her research in the history and sociology of education focuses on curriculum, youth, gender, inequality and social change. Current projects include: a history of progressive education in Australia; internationalism, educability and citizenship in the interwar period; and a longitudinal and cross-generational study of young people, schooling and everyday ethics.