Pedagogy (most commonly understood as the approach to teaching) refers more broadly to the theory and practice of education, and how this influences the growth of learners. Pedagogy, taken as an academic discipline, is the study of how knowledge and skills are exchanged in an educational context, and it considers the interactions that take place during learning. Pedagogies vary greatly, as they reflect the different social, political, cultural contexts from which they emerge. Pedagogy is the act of teaching. Theories of pedagogy increasingly identify the student as an agent, and the teacher as a facilitator. Conventional western pedagogies, however, view the teacher as knowledge holder and student as the recipient of knowledge (described by Paulo Freire as "banking methods").