Education plays a significant role in developing people, continuity, and transfer of experience in the civilized world. However, traditional teaching is not always the best approach. The Brazilian scientist Paulo Freire wrote that conventional education was often used “as an instrument of conservatism, where the learner becomes a passive receptor of certain knowledge” (Ihejirika, 2017, p. 1). In the scholar’s opinion, this method is so impractical that it makes the student entirely immune to new knowledge. The only value that remains is the certificate awarded upon completion of the education. Therefore, Freire called the traditional method “the banking system of education,” proposing a problem-posing approach as a reasonable alternative. This paper aims to present the literature review describing the disadvantages and negative implications of traditional education methods.
Most scholars use Freire’s model as a basis for implementing less traditional educational methods such as problem-solving pedagogy. Ihejirika (2017) notes that Freire’s problem-posing model “engrains in the learner the liberty to develop thinking abilities, which aid such a person to contribute in the learning process,” and “conceives education as a symbiotic method of learning” (p. 1). The scholar adds that a problem-solving attitude is most practical since it allows the learner to gain independence to change society by addressing societal problems. Further, Espinoza (2017) analyzes the traditional educational model adopted in Latin America since the 1980s and based on ideas promoted by international financial institutions such as the World Bank and the Inter-American Development Bank. The scientist notes that education in Latin America would be more effective if the training was carried out following the ideas of Freire, who declared the liberating role of the state in training professionals “with a critical and ethical consciousness, committed to the needs of the area, region and world” (Espinoza, 2017, p. 435).
Nweke and Owoh (2020) emphasize that Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy ideas are consistent with John Dewey’s experimental education concepts regarding proper formal education. Both Freire and Dewey condemned the traditional approach to education, which denies the learner’s experience as a learning element. Nweke and Owoh (2020) noted that the difference in Freire and Dewey’s approaches is due to their origins and life experiences. Dewey, who lived in the developed civilized city of America, promoted education to support democratic development. Freire, who lived in Brazil during the dictatorship, perceived education as an enlightenment tool and liberation from unfinished learning.
Further, Dawson and Avoseh (2018) note that in the context of the challenges that globalization poses for learning, modern education should use Freire’s liberation pedagogy as an alternative to the traditional approach. Scientists also emphasize that teachers’ task is to change the educational school structure and “free students from the ontological slavery of the neoliberal, market social structure, reinforced by globalization” (Dawson and Avoseh, 2018, p. 1). Machakanja and Manuel (2020) also describe the advantages of new ethical values-based approaches over traditional education. Scholars emphasize that “Freire’s thesis and the Ubuntu philosophy open up new possibilities for approaching education in Africa” as they “redirect educational systems that were predominantly colonial and capitalist banking types of education” (p. 683).
Wang and Hoffman (2020) emphasize that the traditional education system, in the context of globalization and post-colonial development, “works to involve students in the current global system, rather than empowering them to challenge that system” (p. 435). Scientists recommend going beyond this limitation using Levinas’ ideas and a post-humanist approach. Broughan and Prinsloo (2020) add that the traditional educational system excludes students from most learning analytics practices and suggests using Freire’s teachings as a rationale for including students as partners in collecting and using their data.
Further, Jones (2017) notes that traditional educational forces “smother educational imagination” (p. 1). The scientist also admits that the banking system of education “simply ‘fill’ students with information, rather than encouraging them to be independent, creative, and individualized learners” (Jones, 2017, p. 1). Shih (2018) adds that the traditional method excludes the possibility of interaction, saying that Freire’s approach is seeing education as a practice of freedom, where through the dialogue, learners and educators raise their awareness. Bybee (2020) notes that teachers need to be more humane and avoid the teacher-centered approach through freedom from oppression and liberation from the ‘banking system’ education. The scientist emphasizes that the dehumanization of traditional education oppresses both students and educators.
Veugelers (2017) says that a focus on social justice becomes part of traditional learning. The scientist notes that humanized moral education will empower connections of education with society. Noteworthy, Chambers (2019) states that the non-traditional education offered by Freire justifiably contains an element of a directive that characterizes dialogues between teachers and students. Kohan (2018) adds that the traditional approach, which can be replaced by the more current Lipmann and Freire approaches, is out of place in primary school children’s education and criticizes the de facto status quo in Latin American education.
Firdaus and Mariyat (2017) emphasize that modern education is losing humanity, as the primary teaching approach is teacher-centered education. Therefore, the goal of the humanistic approach is to direct education towards self-actualization, self-understanding, and self-realization of students who will be critical and act following universal values. Matsuyama et al. (2019) add that teacher-oriented learning discourages students from self-directed learning. The transition to student-oriented education will allow students to be more motivated, self-identify in the process better, and adopt new learning strategies. Interestingly, Moosivand et al. (2020) find positives about personal, teacher-oriented methods versus virtual learning. According to the study, teacher-oriented education was associated with better academic grades and social cohesion than distance learning. Lojdová (2019) noted a contradiction inherent in the educational system. The learner-oriented approach is used in internship practice, while in teaching practice, educators use a teacher-oriented method.
According to a study by Mpho (2018), even though most participants are committed to an inclusive education system, the results showed that a teacher-oriented approach was used in most cases. An and Mindrila (2020) also recognize the benefits of learner-centered education, noting that “it can be a challenging task to implement learner-centered education in the current education system which was designed for sorting rather than learning” (p. 133). Scientists provide an extensive list of effective student-centered practices. Finally, Kaymakamoglu (2018) says that although teachers and participants in the study spoke of a commitment to a constructivist educational approach, in practice, they predominantly applied the traditional method.
Thus, the literature review describing the disadvantages and negative implications of traditional education methods was presented. Formal teacher-centered education is usually criticized for reducing students’ motivation and bringing self-identification difficulties in the learning process. The banking method is another name for conventional education that is widely used by Paulo Freire’s followers. Freire offered an alternative, problem-posing learning based on a constructive dialogue between learner and educator. Scientists also cite the approaches of John Dewey, Levinas, Lipmann, and the Ubuntu philosophy as an effective option to the traditional teaching method.
An, Y. and Mindrila, D. (2020) ‘Strategies and tools used for learner-centered instruction’, International Journal of Technology in Education and Science (IJTES), 4(2), pp. 133-143.
Broughan, C. and Prinsloo, P. (2020) ‘(Re) centering students in learning analytics: in conversation with Paulo Freire’, Assessment & Evaluation in Higher Education, 45(4), pp. 617-628.
Bybee, E. R. (2020) ‘Too important to fail: the banking concept of education and standardized testing in an urban middle school’, Educational Studies, pp. 1-16.
Chambers, D.W. (2019) ‘Is Freire incoherent? Reconciling directiveness and dialogue in Freirean pedagogy’, Journal of Philosophy of Education, 53(1), pp. 21-47.
Dawson, R. and Avoseh, M.B. (2018) ‘Freire’s conscientization and the global student: towards emancipatory transformation’, Commission for International Adult Education, pp. 1-12.
Espinoza, O. (2017) ‘Paulo Freire’s ideas as an alternative to higher education neoliberal reforms in Latin America’, Journal of Moral Education, 46(4), pp. 435-448.
Firdaus, F.A. and Mariyat, A. (2017) ‘Humanistic approach in education according to Paulo Freire’, At-Ta’dib, 12(2), pp. 25-48.
Ihejirika, C.I. (2017) ‘A constructivist appraisal of Paulo Freire’s critique of the banking system of education’, European Journal of Educational and Development Psychology, 6(1), pp. 1-13.
Jones, P.R. (2017) ‘Liberation, imagination, and emancipation within the diverse realm of education: a critical analysis of Paulo Freire’s pedagogy of freedom: ethics, democracy, and civic courage’, International Journal of Language and Linguistics, 4(4), pp. 1-7.
Kaymakamoglu, S.E. (2018) ‘Teachers’ beliefs, perceived practice and actual classroom practice in relation to traditional (teacher-centered) and constructivist (learner-centered) teaching’, Journal of Education and Learning, 7(1), pp. 29-37.
Kohan, W.O. (2018) ‘Paulo Freire and philosophy for children: a critical dialogue’, Studies in Philosophy and Education, 37(6), pp. 615-629.
Lojdová, K. (2019) ‘Socialization of a student-teacher on teaching practice into the discursive community of the classroom: between a teacher-centered and a learner-centered approach’, Learning, Culture, and Social Interaction, 22, pp. 1-14.
Machakanja, P. and Manuel, C.S. (2020) ‘Rethinking pedagogy and educational practice in Africa: a comparative analysis of Liberative and Ubuntu educational philosophies’, in The Palgrave Handbook of African education and indigenous knowledge. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 683-701.
Matsuyama, Y. et al. (2019) ‘Does changing from a teacher-centered to a learner-centered context promote self-regulated learning: a qualitative study in a Japanese undergraduate setting’, BMC Medical Education, 19(1), pp. 1-12.
Moosivand, M., et al. (2020) ‘Investigate and compare the effect of in-person and teacher-centered education with virtual education in learning the history of Islamic culture and civilization course of Hamadan Medical Sciences students’, Pajouhan Scientific Journal, 18(2), pp. 75-82.
Mpho, O.M. (2018) ‘Teacher centered dominated approaches: their implications for today’s inclusive classrooms’, International Journal of Psychology and Counselling, 10(2), pp. 11-21.
Nweke, C.C. and Owoh, A.T. (2020) ‘John Dewey and Paulo Freire: comparative thought on experiential education’, Nnadiebube Journal of Philosophy, 4(1), pp. 1-12.
Shih, Y.H. (2018) ‘Some critical thinking on Paulo Freire’s critical pedagogy and its educational implications’, International Education Studies, 11(9), pp. 64-70.
Veugelers, W. (2017) ‘The moral in Paulo Freire’s educational work: what moral education can learn from Paulo Freire’, Journal of Moral Education, 46(4), pp. 412-421.
Wang, C. and Hoffman, D.M. (2020) ‘From Freire to Levinas: toward a post-humanist global citizenship education’, Educational Studies, 56(5), pp. 435-455.