Traditional education, also called traditional schooling, traditional education, or back-to- BASIC education, refers to the long-standing, well-respected traditions that societies have traditionally used as the cornerstone of formal education. Such education is usually associated with a particular faith and often has been taught since childhood. In countries where religion plays an important role in public life, traditional education is a key institution in schooling. It is particularly noteworthy in the Muslim and other conservative communities.
The underlying philosophy behind traditional education systems is the idea that learning can be best done by people by doing. Humans are naturally creative and it is believed that by developing our natural ability to learn we can improve our societies and our lives. This is in contrast to the more rigid, linear, and “modern” approach taken by most modern education systems. Traditional learning tends to reject the importance of progression within learning and tends to promote a strong emphasis on the immediate and instinctual approach to learning.
In the Western world, traditional education is now widely regarded as having failed and is regarded as a key cause of the increasing gap between the richest and the poorest citizens. Whilst there is little doubt that traditional education has some negative aspects, it is also fair to say that progressive education does have some positive benefits. Progressive education has been adopted in many parts of the world to produce highly competent employees. The best progressive education system is that which provides both vocational and advanced academic learning, both of which are strongly dependent on individual effort and the ability to work in a team.
Progressive education is generally thought to be less structured than traditional education and is often taught through a personal approach, whereby students take responsibility for their own learning. Students are taught to think for themselves, to challenge assumptions, and to be proactive in achieving desired learning goals. It is also taught that skill, practical knowledge and good thinking are important qualities that all humans are born with and that are essential for the survival of humans and other living things.
It is clear from this that the differences between traditional and progressive education are primarily the method of delivery and the focus upon individual achievement and growth. It is therefore not surprising that there is often a wide variety of opinions regarding the nature and definition of learning. Some people believe that traditional education is about teaching people the rules; others believe that learning is about testing our knowledge and gaining understanding; still, others believe that learning can only occur through a holistic approach, involving all of the senses.
Learning can only occur when there is the appropriate interaction of learning ideas with various aspects of the individual’s experience and environment. For this reason, it is no surprise that students of a traditional education system are keen to interact with and take part in a range of activities, such as team sports, art and craftwork, music, drama, and even board games. Whilst it is impossible to say what these activities would have been in the system had been based upon a more progressive educational model, it is clear that their engagement is not necessarily negative and this is something to be encouraged. Modern education systems need to be able to adapt to the needs of students and incorporate their interests in learning and teaching.