7 junio, 2024

Traditional pedagogical model: what it is, origin, characteristics, advantages

What is the traditional pedagogical model?

He traditional pedagogical model or traditional education is the predominant way of approaching education from the Industrial Revolution to the present day. It stands out for being the one that is practiced in most schools, institutes and universities. This pedagogical model is based on the idea that students should be passive recipients of information.

In this way, teachers must expose their knowledge in front of students, and students will acquire knowledge by being exposed to them. The learning process is seen within this model as somewhat unpredictable. Therefore, teachers must be experts in the subject they are explaining.

The transmission of information is considered an art, so each teacher has his own approach and way of treating students. One of the reasons for the success of the traditional model of education is that it is a very simple way of educating to implement; This is why it has expanded so much.

History and authors of the traditional pedagogical model

High Middle Ages

The traditional pedagogical model has its origins in the schools of the Early Middle Ages. Most of the schools at this time were founded on a religious basis, and their main purpose was to train monks.

Most modern universities also have Christian traditions. For example, the University of Paris was initially religious, although it later became secular.

Century XVIII

Due to these religious origins, the way of educating practically did not change at all for several centuries. However, in the 18th century, the scientist and educator John Amos created an educational reform that quickly spread throughout Europe.

The main result of this reform was a greater interest of governments in the education of their citizens.

In 1770, the first chair of pedagogy in history was created at the University of Halle (Germany). This was due to an attempt to unify teaching methods and universalize them.

Some important authors of this period were Johan Heinrich Pestalozzi and Joseph Lancaster.

Industrial Revolution

The modern university model arose from the hand of Wilhem von Humboldt, who had a great influence on the founding of the University of Berlin. This model was later standardized.

During the time of the Industrial Revolution, governments set themselves the goal of creating universal education, in such a way that «better soldiers and more obedient citizens» were produced.

By the end of the 19th century, the traditional education system had been standardized and the majority of the population had been educated in subjects such as reading, mathematics, and writing.

Characteristics of the traditional model

Relationship between teacher and students

In the traditional pedagogical model, the teacher must be an expert in his field, so that students have the best chances of understanding and memorizing knowledge.

In addition, the teacher has to be an expert in transmitting the information, something that in this model is practically considered an art.

Approaches to delivering education in the traditional model

Two main approaches can be found within the traditional pedagogical model. Although at first glance these approaches appear very similar, they present some differences:

The first is an encyclopedic approach. The teacher in this model has great knowledge about the subject to be taught, in such a way that teaching is nothing more than the direct transmission of this knowledge.

The greatest risk of this model is that the teacher is not able to adequately transmit their knowledge.

The second model is the comprehensive one. In this model, instead of transmitting the information in the form of raw data, the teacher tries to teach the internal logic of the teacher’s knowledge.

In this way, students learn about the subject in a slightly more active way, using logic apart from memory.

Role of the teacher/teacher

The role of the teacher in the traditional model is to put their knowledge and experiences at the service of their students, so that they can come to understand them in the best way. The main way in which the teacher communicates with his students is through speech.

Although in modern environments teachers can support their presentations with audiovisual material, such as images or slides, the bulk of the information is transmitted orally.

Therefore, this model is not entirely effective for people who learn better through senses other than hearing. However, it has the advantage that a single teacher is capable of transmitting his knowledge to a very large number of students.

Due mainly to this last advantage, the traditional pedagogical model continues to be the predominant one in the majority of educational centers in the world.

Importance of memory in learning

Contrary to other more modern educational models, the main method that students are expected to use to learn is memory.

Teachers are responsible for transmitting the so-called «pure data»: concepts and ideas that are largely unrelated to each other, and that students must memorize based on repetition.

This is especially true of the first type of transmission model, the encyclopedic approach. In the comprehensive approach, students can also rely on their own logical processes, although memory continues to be their main tool.

Effort as the main technique for acquiring knowledge

In the traditional model, students are expected to, after receiving the knowledge from the teacher, memorize it through repetition and study until they are able to recall it without problems.

That is why this model greatly enhances the importance of self-discipline; that is, the ability to carry out an unpleasant task to achieve a desired result in the future.

For this reason, the defenders of this system say that it is very useful to reinforce the character of the students.

Exams as an assessment model

In order to check whether students have made the effort required to memorize knowledge, exams and other types of tests are carried out in most institutions that use this system.

In theory, this would allow the teacher to help students who have not been able to learn in a more personalized way. However, in most cases this type of knowledge tests do not achieve the desired effect.

For many students they become real sources of stress, and those who do not achieve good results tend to get stuck and feel worse about themselves in the long term.

Advantages and disadvantages of the traditional model


– Allows a teacher to instruct many students at the same time, thus saving on educational resources.

– Teaches students the value of personal effort, since most of the learning must be done on their own.

– It is the most effective method to transmit raw data such as dates or laws.

– It is the way of teaching that most people are used to, so it does not require an adaptation process to start learning.

– Teachers should only be experts in their subject and not in learning processes, which makes their work easier.

– Students develop memory during the learning process.


– It is a very inefficient way of acquiring knowledge, which requires a much greater effort from the students than normal.

– It generates a lot of frustration in a large part of the students.

– This way of learning is not very related to the skills necessary to succeed in the real world.

– Fundamental aspects of learning such as curiosity, innovation or exploration are left aside.

– Competition among students is encouraged, and the focus is placed on external validation through exams and numerical grades. It is proven that this has a very negative effect on students’ self-esteem.

– Most of the knowledge acquired during the educational process is forgotten in a very short time by the students.

– Students must only memorize the knowledge that is transmitted to them, so creativity is totally excluded from the process.

– Because the human memory is not particularly well prepared to memorize raw data, this type of learning can be very difficult for some students. For a long time it was believed that there were people who did not have the sufficient capacity to learn due to this problem. Fortunately, in recent years, models have been developed to solve this.


“Traditional education” in: Wikipedia. Retrieved from en.wikipedia.org.
“Traditional and modern methods of teaching in kindergarten”in: McGraw Hill Education. Retrieved from mheducation.ca.
«Teaching models» in: Wikipedia. Retrieved from es.wikipedia.org.

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