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A Progressive Approach to the Education of Teachers:
Some Principles from Bank Street College of Education


Edna Shapiro and I began this manuscript four years ago in response to a request from Jon Snyder, Dean of the Graduate School at Bank Street College, to take on a new project. Our earlier analysis of Bank Street’s approach to education resulted in an edited volume, Revisiting a progressive pedagogy: The developmental-interaction approach, published by SUNY Press in 2000. Jon asked us to now focus on a developmental-interaction approach to teacher education.

As we immersed ourselves in the contentious debates engulfing teacher education, our definition of the task emerged. We would describe enduring principles that had sustained and informed Bank Street’s approach over time. Over our period of writing, we took many missteps. We found ourselves expanding beyond the focus of our project; struggling to balance descriptions of principles with classroom enactments of these principles. Making those connections without codifying the approach proved delicate. Our project languished. Its complexity, competing work demands, and illness all conspired. Facing her final illness, Edna regretted that we had not completed this paper and I promised that we would. We engaged with the manuscript once again. Among Edna’s great gifts was her capacity to collaborate—to generously share her ideas, to listen carefully, to take pleasure in a colleague, and to be a loving friend—even in the face of catastrophic illness.

It has taken me a year since Edna’s death in 2005 to return to this project, during which time my thinking about teacher education continued to evolve. The core structure and content of the manuscript represent work that Edna and I completed together which I have edited for clarity and to capture new understandings. In my mind, Edna remains a cherished collaborator, urging me on to make it “good, better, best. ” While I would not claim that it is now “best, ” I do think the paper achieves its goal. It is satisfying to offer some principles for the education of teachers and capture for analysis and examination the framework of teacher education at Bank Street College. I am also pleased that the paper provides not only a set of principles but also attempts to bring these abstract notions to life through classroom examples.

I appreciate Jonathan Silin’s repeated gentle requests that I complete this manuscript for Bank Street’s Occasional Paper Series and Virginia Casper's careful reading. I also value Jon Snyder’s consistent support and encouragement.

And so, I am glad to finish this manuscript with and for Edna. In the words of Woody Allen, “You may be deceased but don’t be discouraged. ” We have finished the paper.

Nancy Nager
September 2006


Recommended citation (APA)

Nager, N. & Shapiro, E. (2007). A progressive approach to the education of teachers: some principles from Bank Street College of Education. Bank Street Occasional Paper Series 18. Retrieved from:


A Progressive Approach to the Education of Teachers: Some Principles from Bank Street College of Education