13 September, 2012
And The Winner Is…?
The “banking concept,” as termed by Paulo Freire, is essentially a method of teaching that hinders the intellectual growth of students by turning them into, figuratively speaking, comatose “receptors” and “collectors” of information that have no real connection to their lives.
Picture a classroom containing 20 students. They are sitting in rows of desks facing a whiteboard on which a teacher frequently writes and draws while pacing back and forth. He speaks directly from the textbook which pertains to the class they are taking. He also distributed a completely empty packet which the students are expected to fill in with the correct answers. As he talks at them, they frantically write down everything he says in case he happens to mention something that is not in the textbook they are expected to memorize.
Every week they are to complete at least two pages of the packet, and they are tested once a week on Friday on the material he has expounded upon for the past four days. Not once does he engage in conversation with them or ask them their thoughts on the matter. Rarely does he stop to answer questions the students might have, and when he does he resorts to the textbook to help him explain, yet it only mimics his original explanation, ultimately leaving the question unanswered. There is a distance between the teacher and his students which remains constant.
“This is the ‘banking’ concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits”(318). In his essay concerning ways of teaching, Freire discusses how students never engage in discussion with their educators, let alone with each other, about what they learn; they are “oppressed” by their teachers, the “oppressors.” Unfortunately, it seems to be as though more teachers approach their students with this “banking” concept instead of using...