The Pedagogy of the Oppressed

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The Pedagogy of the Oppressed
What does the opinion expressed in Paulo Freire’s “banking” education metaphor really say about modern society and the disenfranchised? Freire begins Chapter Two of his novel “Pedagogy of the Oppressed,” by analyzing the teacher-student relationship that is characteristic of the Socratic/Lecture Teaching Methods. Freire refers to these teaching methods as “the banking concept of education,” where the students are considered empty bank accounts just passively and robotically waiting to be filled with deposits from the omniscient professors. (1) While at first, the metaphor seems novel, upon closer inspection, Friere is making a bold and controversial statement about the current power-hungry and oppressive social construct. A system designed and manufactured by the wealthy in order to polarize the divergent social classes and maintain the status quo. But all is not lost, there is a light at the end of the tunnel-the light of communication.

I apologize for the dramatics, but I have a deep personal connection with Freire’s beliefs about the true healing powers of communication. For me, Maynard James Keenan, the lead singer for the band “Tool,” says it best in the song “Schism” when he cries, “Cold silence has a tendency to atrophy any sense of compassion between supposed lovers… between supposed brothers.” I know at first these lyrics may seem like a stretch, but if you really think about it, Keenan’s words echo the sentiments of Freir’s assertions many times throughout Chapter Two. For example, in Freire’s introduction of the “banking concept,” he wrote: Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqués and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as...
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