Celestin Freinet believed that the current educational system was invasive and predatory and often pitching students against each other. Inspired by his health challenges, he proposed a teaching technique that promotes cooperation between students and allowed them to learn in a more natural way. Freinet’s life and work remain alive since his teaching methods is being practiced in different countries around the world.

Freinet’s pedagogical approach emphasizes the importance of letting students take control of their actions as well as dictate the pace of their learning. This is often regarded as pedagogical liberation. Many researchers believe that children do not participate actively in school life unless they are in the riding seat of their own growth. It is also thought that children learn better through group activities.

Freinet ‘s teaching technique made use of different tools including class journals, free writing, school correspondence, school newspaper, working libraries, educator’s co-operative, field investigations, classroom assembly as well as self-correcting files. Freinet believed that children play because they are not allowed to work. Hence, an optimal learning environment should allow children to observe and participate in works adults do. As much as Freinet’s teaching method presents a lot of prospects that can transform the education system, it also has its own challenges.

The Challenges Of The Freinet Teaching Method

The foremost problem that can hinder the implementation of Freinet’s teaching methods in all learning environment is that it lacks a formal structure, neither is it taught as an academic subject. Without a formal structure, there is bound to be a lack of uniformity in the adoption and promotion of this teaching method. While there is an emphasis on the framework, little is said about the specific subjects.

Many critics have argued that it is only the teachers that can say if their approach to learning is Freinet or not. However, as an observer, it is easy to tell if the teaching approach is in line with Freinet principles by looking closely to determine if they allow the children to participate in the decision-making process for matters that concern them.

Other factors that an observer can use to judge the level of teacher’s commitment to the Freinet method are judging the children’s learning, interest, and cooperation. According to various studies, a child that starts off with Freinet’s method may find it difficult going back to traditional pedagogy.

Freinet pedagogical approach’s purpose is to help children take control of their actions as well as their learning, it could be regarded as the pedagogy of liberation.

Qualities A Freinet Teacher Should Have

For a teacher to be able to effectively implement the Freinet’s method, there are traits that he or she must have. A ‘Freinet teacher’ needs to be the kind of individual that will;

  • Identify the individual values possessed by their students and focus teaching on those values
  • Link emotionally with the students
  • Create an atmosphere for students to show their strongest point
  • Encourage children to develop an interest in their work rather than trying to enforce compliance through discipline.
  • Be able to stir up the child’s curiosity for knowledge
  • Involve students in the decision-making process
  • Employ natural methods that will prepare the student for the challenges that lie ahead in life

One of the principle distinguishing factors between Freinet’s teaching method and traditional teaching method is the ability of the former to inculcate cooperation and value work in students. Freinet’s teaching method also develops all forms of intelligence in students namely cognitive, political, abstract, creative, manual, and artistic. A teacher that is employing Freinet’s teaching techniques should be able to make this as glaring as possible in the classroom.

The Role Of Teachers In Transforming The Education System

The primary role of any teacher in a school is to impart knowledge and values in the students as well as create an atmosphere of support, confidence, hope, and warmth for the students to express themselves. The formative role of teachers makes them instrumental to any transformative drive in a school setting.

Freinet incessantly criticized the traditional school setting for not giving teachers the room to be innovative which often eliminates the teaching of moral values. It’s close to a century since Freinet’s theory first appeared but it is still in practices in many countries around the world. Freinet’s teaching method can be the answer for teachers in search of a new teaching method or style to help them meet their teaching goals.