Is Paulo Freire Correct About the Banking Concept
And The Problem-posing Method?
Paulo Freire, a well-renowned leader in literacy studies as well as an advocate of progressive teaching, is against the education system he classifies as the "banking concept of education". Instead, he supports the idea that education should be a collaborative process in which teachers and students work together and think critically. From the excerpt "The Banking Concept of Education" taken from his most popular book Pedagogy of the Oppressed, he classifies the Banking Concept as an environment where teachers are the narrators and the students are the recorders (238). Freire has also proposed a new solution in his article called the problem-posing education where the teacher and student become one to say, each teaches the other and both have the chance to think critically as well as give one's interpretation of the subject (242). However, both systems are not entirely perfect and therefore both have advantages and disadvantages in the education system.
The banking concept of education has received many criticisms especially from Freire himself. Freire describes the method of teaching where the teachers directly fill the minds of their students with information and the student themselves accept it without any questioning as oppressive (239). To put it differently, the teacher informs, and the student listens in return. The students are not allowed to challenge the authority and the credibility of the teacher. So students have no freedom or active participation in education and the exchange of information is one-way. As I see it, this is generally what people call spoon-feeding. In addition, Freire explains, "Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world" (241). This suggests that Freire feels the banking concept leads to an unresponsive mind that stands in the way of men's expression and freedom. This is obviously against the principle of most people in this country which emphasizes on freedom of expression or speech. He also adds, "In sum: banking theory and practice, as immobilizing and fixating forces, fail to acknowledge men as historical beings" (244). To put it differently, he feels that the banking concept fails to recognize men as the ultimate being in this world that is capable of unparalleled heights. With the banking concept, men's achievements are hampered resulting to a backward society in the future. Thus, Freire concludes that there is no advantage to the banking concept of education and that it is never useful.
There is, however, a time in which this type of teaching is necessary and advantageous. The act of recording, memorizing, and repeating phrases may have its advantages after all in certain situations. For instance, this banking method would demonstrate its necessity when teaching a foreign language. This is because, for the first few years of learning a foreign language, the only method of teaching is the memorization and repetition of vocabulary, pronunciation, and so on. Likewise this is also true when teaching in an elementary school or to younger kids. The students need to learn the basics first before using it to think and formulate their own views and ideas. For example, when teaching basic math equation, teachers ask their students to memorize that 1+1= 2 or 1x2=2 and so on. In this situation, it is appropriate to use the banking concept because there is no point denying accuracy of the equation. In other words, students need the foundation that is passed to them by their teachers to be able to think critically and be creative in their own way. Therefore the banking concept provides groundwork for students to enter another stage where the problem-posing method would be used. On the whole, the banking concept should not be entirely eliminated from the...
Cited: Freire, Paulo. "The Banking Concept of Education" Writing Lives. Ed. Kay Halasek, Edgar
Singleton, Brenda Boyle, Jennifer Clark, Robert Dunks, Bruce Machart, Michaal Sasso, Lisa Tatonetti, Rebecca Taylor. Boston, MA: Pearson Custom Publishing, 2000. 237-252.
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