IOE - Faculty of Education and Society


Traditional and progressive approaches to teaching: New empirical evidence on an old debate

26 January 2023, 3:00 pm–4:00 pm

Students and a teacher look over maps and flags spread on a table in a school library. (Image: Rawpixel.com / Adobe Stock)

Join this event to hear Sam Sims discuss two approaches to teaching, using new empirical evidence to support his findings.

This event is free.

Event Information

Open to









Room G02
55-59 Gordon Square

Event recording

MediaCentral Widget Placeholderhttps://mediacentral.ucl.ac.uk/Player/D646ffj3

Traditionalists argue that teachers should carefully sequence the best knowledge from their subject area and deliver it directly to the whole class. Progressives argue that teachers should instead facilitate pupils’ exploration of their individual interests, thereby nurturing curiosity and thinking skills. 

In this event, Sam will look at his research which tested these claims using fixed effect models applied to data on 1,223 pupils (age 11-14) in the German National Educational Panel Study. 

The research found few links between pupil outcomes and their teachers’ orientation. The one exception is that - contrary to progressive claims - pupils develop a greater interest in learning when taught by teachers with a traditionalist orientation.

This event will be particularly useful for researchers and teachers.

This is a hybrid event and can be joined either in-person or online.

CEPEO seminar series

The Centre for Education Policy and Equalising Opportunities (CEPEO) hosts an online research seminar series where guest speakers present cutting edge research. Join policymakers, researchers and practitioners to explore the pressing questions of our time in education policy and equalising opportunities.

Related links

About the Speaker

Dr Sam Sims

Lecturer at CEPEO, UCL IOE

He is interested in teachers, teaching, and teacher professional development.

More about Dr Sam Sims