A Discussion of Banking-Concept Limitations
What do students obtain through education? Freire in his essay ‘The Banking Concept of Education’ argues that students gain useless and meaningless knowledge through education, and I agree with Freire because education has become an act of depositing meaningless information into students. Freire believes the current educational system is flawed due to the “Banking Concept”, which Freire describes as, “an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor”(Freire 72). Freire implies that teachers are only telling students what to know rather than conversting with them, which explains why Freire insists that “education is suffering from narration sickness”(Freire 71). This means that he believes that educators only fill student’s minds with information, that the teacher feels is important, without providing the students the meaning and personal relevance that information has. By using this method, the student is oppressed by the teacher and unable to fulfill a complete state of consciousness. I can remember several times in my educational experiences where I have been the “depository” in Freire’s Banking Concept of Education, but no experience is more relative than my Organic Chemistry class three years ago where I learned that problem-solving education is vastly superior to banking-education because it allows students to acquire true understanding of their world and the ability to reach consciousness.
During the summer of 2009, I took a summer semester of Organic Chemistry at University of California Berkeley. When I first entered the lecture hall, there were masses of people fighting for seats and some even resided to sitting on the floor or going into the side room to watch the lecture on television. As soon as the clock hit 9:00 am, five faculty members walked into the room: Professor Francis and four Graduate Student Instructors (GSIs). From the start, Dr. Francis went over the course structure, what it entailed, and how we as students could obtain help. While he was going over the syllabus information, he made one point extremely clear: “I cannot answer your personal questions during lecture time. If you have questions, please visit me during my office hours or please ask one of the GSIs.” After making that point, he transitioned into his lecture on functional groups; however, I was not following him. I immediately knew that this would be a lecture-only class, and I knew that I would need to write down every single note, diagram, or graph he showed us and memorize it for future examinations. Freire would acclaim that I would become a “depository” because I would simply allow Professor Francis to deposit his ‘knowledge’ into my mind without further question or thought. I would become a slave, oppressed by the very person who was supposed to free me (Freire 74).
Dr. Francis continued in his slide show and a large slide labeled ‘Hydrocarbons’ appeared on the screen, and below the title were several different organic hydrocarbon functional groups, such as alkenes, alkanes, alkynes, benzenes, and toluene. He discussed each hydrocarbon in great depth and showed us students how to recognize them based on their bond sequences and patterns, how they react in the presence of other organic molecules, and how their chemical bonds affect water. After an exhaustive lecture of copying everything he said into my 12x8 notebook, he announced that we must memorize all of the hydrocarbon groups, and to be able to recognize them for an exam setting. Never once did he explain what what makes them important. I raised my hand at the end of the lecture, and asked him what the application of hydrocarbons are in the ‘real-world’. He replied not to worry about that, and that we needed to be able to recognize them and know how they function chemically, not practically, and why would he take the time to explain how hydrocarbons function? In order for Dr....
Freire, Paulo. "The Banking Concept of Education." Pedagogy of the oppressed. 30th anniversary ed. New York: Continuum, 2000. 71-86. Print.
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