While the discussion about strengths and weaknesses of traditional schooling has been active for some time, especially since the advent of alternative education methods, this subject has rarely achieved attention that it deserves.
New technologies in the digital age have changed the way we understand education today. Traditional education is faced with many challenges, but there are also new opportunities to explore.
The subject of this article is to point at pros and cons of traditional education, and give a perspective on benefits and disadvantages of traditional education compared to progressive education.
A big part of education is the forming of students and their personalities. Traditional education has a fixed timetable which students have to respect.
This is a way to establish responsibility and prepare for students for future situations where they will need to show responsibility.
In traditional education, student’s life in evolving around class attendance. Student’s need to get up at a certain time and organize their daily lives according to their school timetable. This leaves less time for pursing other activities.
School as a Part of Life
Traditional education prepares students for future life situation by giving them necessary skills and knowledge to function as individual members of society.
Students are in a protected environment and can learn by following real examples.
One of the main problems of traditional education is the lack of student motivation. Most of the time, students feel that the education system is not giving them a chance to express their skills and interests.
School is more of an obligation than something to look forward to.
More often than not, traditional education seems detached from real student needs.
The Scope of Knowledge
One of the major advantages of traditional education is that gives a wide scope of knowledge, enabling students to acquire solid general education in most areas, from social to natural sciences to sports and technical skills.
Overly generalized education can distract students from pursuing their real interests. Moreover, there is always the risk students will spend much time and effort learning something which will be of little use later in their lives.
There is, of course, the danger of students losing interest in the education process which can result in underachievement, causing problems for students and harming their career prospects.
All students participate in the learning process and everyone has the same chance of acquiring knowledge.
This is where the cons significantly outweigh the pros. Student participation in traditional education is another major problem. Students merely absorb information and they are passive listeners.
The teacher is the sole source of information, the students are expected to listen and their participation is usually reduced to asking questions.
The result can be lack of student interest.
Parents are generally uninvolved in traditional education and rarely participate in the learning process. They are absent from the classroom. The lack of direct parent involvement can benefit certain student, who can then focus on acting independently and work with their peers.
The lack of parent involvement in traditional education can be problematic, especially for students in primary and middle schools.
Parents being absent from the learning process can lead to problems between student’s family and school life.
In progressive education, for example, parents are much more involved in the learning process. In online education, parents can actively participate in teaching courses and help their children during class.
The Status of Teachers
Teachers serve as the main sources of information. They not only help students acquire knowledge and necessary skills, but are also there to help with problems and difficulties.
Teachers and their authority serve as an important role model for students.
There is a gap between teachers and students. Teachers are authoritative, sometimes, they can be disconnected from students and their need. All decision-making is in the hands of the teacher.
Progressive education favors teacher who act as guides to students and encourage them to express their abilities. Decisions are made as a part of the group and students can participate in the process.
Grades and Achievements
Students are motivated to learn and advance and are rewarded for their efforts. Negative grades, in turn, can indicate that something is wrong so that teachers and students can work together in order to solve the problem.
Researchers, educators as well as parents are challenging the role of grades in traditional schools and colleges.
One of the obvious flaws of a grade motivated education is that students are more motivated to get good grades, than on genuine performance.
In some cases, grades are no longer a mean, but the goal of education.
Compared to traditional education, progressive education is much more flexible and student oriented. Learning revolves around student interests and is actually relevant and aimed to involve the student in the process.
Instead of merely absorbing knowledge through lectures, student actively participate and learn by real examples and social interaction.
The article has demonstrated that traditional schools and colleges have to adapt to new circumstances in order to withstand the challenge of progressive education in the modern world. Many aspects of traditional education are no longer up to this challenge.
Most importantly, more focus should be put on students and their needs.