General Progressive Pedagogy

The Human Restoration Project explores a variety of progressive thought to move all learners toward humanity through passion, service, and empowerment. We welcome criticism and remain open to dialogue on expanding our viewpoints further.


We recommend starting with writings by any of these educators:

  • John Dewey

  • Susan Engel

  • Paulo Freire

  • Henry Giroux

  • John Holt

  • bell hooks

  • Alfie Kohn

  • Jonathan Kozol

  • Deborah Meier

  • Maria Montessori

  • Jean Piaget


By infusing elements of experiential education, critical pedagogy, and cooperative learning, students are empowered through self-actualization, empowerment, inquiry toward real-world problems, and developing passion in life. Schooling should seek authentic discourse in recognizing student perspectives, asserting their community, and actualizing their dreams.

We want to transform public schools but not dismantle viable options for all learners. These changes will create an equitable, sustainable school system.

Please report broken links to us. Paid resources are noted with **. Note: all research should be looked at through a critical lens, there is no denying that many research studies fail to be replicated or have mixed results.


Curriculum Integration: Designing the Core of Democratic Education.** Beane, James. 1997.

  • A look at how schools can integrate all subjects into one core curriculum through the use of a democratic education.

Experience and Education. Dewey, John. 1938.

  • A fundamental overview of experiential learning and one of the originators of progressive education.

The Lives of Children: The Story of the First Street School.** Dennison, George. 1999.

  • An inspiring look at how Dennison leads students towards positive outcomes through an authentic "human" education at the First Street School.

The Game of School: Why We All Play It, How it Hurts Kids, and What It Will Take to Change It.** Fried, Robert. 2005.

  • Similar to Holt's writings against traditional schooling, this modern work showcases how students are not adequately prepared for the future.

The Passionate Learner: How Teachers and Parents Can Help Children Reclaim the Joy of Discovery.** Fried, Robert. 2002.

  • Various examples and stories are provided on how one can incorporate curiosity into their classroom.

Culturally Responsive Teaching: Theory, Research, and Practice. Gay, Geneva. 2010.

  • An overview of how teachers should implement and inform equity-centered and progressive classrooms. (The attached link is Chapter 7, on how to inform and introduce students to this style of learning.)

Free School Teaching: A Journey into Radical Progressive Education.** Morrison, Kristan. 2007.

  • A look at a free school in Albany, New York, and the practices that occur that help to radically change students' lives.

Addicted to Reform.** Morrow, John. The New Press. 2017.

  • A 12-step framework to moving away from more grueling standards and a "back to basics approach" to a progressive education that cares about children.

The Psychology of a Child.** Piaget, Jean & Inhelder, Barbel. 1969.

  • Outlines stages of a child's development and recognizes ways educators (and parents) can positively reinforce their learning.

The Smartest Kids in the World.** Ripley, Amanda. Simon & Schuster. 2013.

  • An analysis of American teenagers taking classes for a year in three countries: Finland, South Korea, and Poland, and how these systems conflict with and resonate with progressive educators in the United States.

Creative Schools.** Robinson, Ken. Aronica, Lou. 2016.

  • A summary of why education needs to change due to stifling inaccuracies of standardization and the antiquation of the school model.


From Boutique to Big Box. Acker, Teresa van. The University of North Carolina. 2013.

  • A well-documented dissertation that showcases how schools must scale progressive practices (in this case Montessori) through strong teacher support.

Classrooms: Goals, Structures, and Student Motivation. Ames, Carole. Journal of Educational Psychology. 1992.

  • Details how a focus on purposeful and meaningful education naturally lends itself to mastery and student motivation.

Classroom Social Experiences as Predictors of Academic Performance. Flook, Lisa. Repetti, Rena. Ullman, Jodie. Developmental Psychology. 2005.

  • Study shows how lack of peer acceptance in 4th grade led to increasingly negative academic outcomes to 6th grade (and possibly beyond), identifying a need for teachers to build relationships between students.

Square pegs in round holes: The mainstream schooling experiences of students with an Autism Spectrum Disorder and their parents. Harrington, Caitlin. The University of Queensland. 2014.

  • This extensive study of ADHD students in school realizes that ADHD students are often not included or individualized for at school, nor are they readily accepted. It calls on the need for more individualization for every student.

Anxiety and depression top list of problems teens see among their peers. Pew Research Center. 2018.

  • Anxiety and depression is a major or minor problem for 96% of teen’s communities, along with bullying, poverty, drug addiction, alcohol use, poverty, teen pregnancy, and gangs as a major or minor problem for the majority.

Promoting Students’ Self-Directed Learning Ability through Teaching Mathematics for Social Justice. Voss, Richard & Rickards, Tony. Journal of Education and Practice. 2016.

  • When students engaged in mathematics through a social justice lens - looking at math through a real world lens to help others - they learned and engaged more in the subject.


Children's Need to Know: Curiosity in Schools**. Engel, Susan. Harvard Educational Review. 2011.

  • An essay supporting the need for children's inquiry, socialization, and natural curiosity to be embraced and focused on by schools.

In Providing Supports for Students, Language Matters. Jung, Lee Ann. Differences, Not Disabilities. 2017.

  • Demonstrates how educators should understand and utilize different language between accommodations and modifications.

Students with Anxiety in the Classroom: Educational Accommodations and Interventions**. Killu, Kim and Crundwell, Marc A. University of Michigan-Dearborn. 2016.

  • Showcases how anxiety can be crippling for students and have an impact on their academic performance (not ability). Teachers should empathize and build support structures to help students suffering from anxiety.

Choices for Children. Kohn, Alfie. Phi Delta Kappan. 1993.

  • Makes the case for students having a voice in the classroom, with research showcasing how this leads to greater learning outcomes.

The Truth About Self-Esteem. Kohn, Alfie. Phi Delta Kappan. 1994.

  • Research that showcases how a student's focus on self-esteem (via congratulations or grades) takes away from learning outcomes as a whole as all focused is placed on the individual, and has little effect on a student's actual self-worth.

Who's Asking? Kohn, Alfie. Educational Leadership. 2015.

  • A look at how questioning is used in schools, including their intent and purpose.

UDL: A Blueprint for Learning Success**. Salend, Spencer and Whittaker, Catharine. Differences, Not Disabilities. 2017.

  • An overview of Universal Design for Learning and how we must design learning experiences for all learners.

Trauma-Informed Classrooms. Pickens, Isaiah B. and Tschopp, Nicole. School-Justice Partnership National Research Center. 2017.

  • A publication detailing the background, research, and implementation of trauma-informed districts and classrooms.

The Blue Blood is Bad Right? Simon, Katherine. Research and Theory on Human Development. 2012.

  • A story about the importance of curiosity in education.