The Banking Concept of Education

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Reviewing and reflecting upon critical issues in education is an involved and complex process. As an elementary and high school student, I can vividly recall countless lectures from teachers on various subjects and frantically copying word for word notes written on blackboards. These notes would later become my study sheets to be memorized for a unit test, quiz or exam. Kozol (2005) comments on the unequal quality of education in relation to rote instruction in education in a conversation with the head of a Chicago school who had been accused of “...turning children into robots...”, the educator responded to the charge by saying “Did you ever stop to think that these robots will never burglarize your home?...will never snatch your pocketbooks. These robots are going to be producing taxes” (p. 82). While not even attempting to deny these accusations this educator not only admits failing to inspire the students but views it as a responsibility and obligation to his community by programming their students to be do as they have been told. Some teachers themselves have been reduced to robots, reciting scripted lessons, focusing on mechanical skills, and rehearsing students for standardized tests who in turn recall and echo correct answers. One theory that speaks to this critical issue in education and that this paper will analyze is Paulo Freire's, The Banking Concept of Education. The paper will also identify the key components of selected readings from course material and how they specifically relate to the topic of the No Child Left Behind Act and standardized testing for student assessment.

Freire (1970) criticizes our current educational system, which he calls “the ‘banking’ concept of education”, because of its capacity to inhibit creativity and minimize critical thinking. He says that the only way to liberate our oppressed society is to upgrade our educational system by using the “problem-posing method of education” which stimulates students to...
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