Loewen made a survey of textbooks created for American history. He was appalled at what he discovered. Loewen found out that history books were written haphazardly without much thought given to scholarly research. More importantly, it was written without considering the attention span of students. These were written without giving much thought on how to stimulate their minds so that they will not find it a boring task to study history. Loewen proposed to rewrite history books so that students will find it relevant and interesting (Loewen 9). Freire, on the other hand, laments the dictatorial style of teaching common in school campuses all over the United States. Combining insights gleaned from the analysis of Loewen, and Freire’s arguments, one can develop an appropriate teaching method that will help improve the performance of college students.
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Freire made a groundbreaking discovery when he asserted that normal teacher-student relationship is characterized by a dictatorial form of information dissemination, such that in the course of teaching, “the contents, whether values or empirical dimensions of reality tend in the process of being narrated to become lifeless, and petrified” (Freire 71). Thus, Freire concluded that the conventional method of teaching is both boring and ineffective.
Freire pointed out that the narrative style of teaching is not the main issue. However, he highlighted the “banking” style of teaching, characterized by receiving and filing information as the root cause of the problem. In other words, there is only a single authoritative voice in the classroom. The teacher is always correct, but more importantly, teachers do not value the importance of collaborative learning strategies. Freire pointed out that this is not the best way to teach future leaders of this nation. He said the following, “knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other” (Freire 72). Thus, there must be a synergy between the teacher and students. It is through the process of creativity, and innovative learning strategies that allow the fire of enthusiastic learning to burn continuously bright. Teachers must continually discover ways to inspire students to acquire more knowledge.
The common definition of lunacy is the attempt to repeat the same procedure over and over again, with the hope of attaining different results. It is lunacy to apply learning strategies that are ineffective continuously. Therefore, the unproductive style of teaching must be overhauled to improve the performance of students. Aside from the problem of efficiency, there is another problematic consequence of the “banking” method. Freire said that this method mirrors the teaching method found in oppressive societies.
Consider the impact of this particular teaching method on people that are under tyrannical rules, such as the people in North Korea, and those living in communities controlled by the Taliban or Isis terror groups. Freire asserted that this type of teaching method produces a certain type of student, a person with a docile mind, a person ready, and willing to perpetuate a lifestyle of conformity and mediocrity.
The world is looking for inventors and innovators. However, it is impossible to develop forward-thinking students if they are exposed to a learning system that punishes original thought. Although it is important to consider Freire’s ideas, there is the danger of creating learning modules that are not pragmatic enough to transfer important information, such as knowledge concerning medicine, and engineering. It is, therefore, imperative to balance it with the use of Loewen’s ideas. Combining Freire’s unconventional view, with Loewen’s ability to develop an interesting teaching style, one can create an effective teaching method appropriate in a college or university setting.
The teacher must develop a lesson plan that enables the students to appreciate the importance of a particular topic by connecting it to contemporary issues. For example, it is important to find out the relevance of studying the exploits of Gen. McArthur and Gen. Patton. Instead of narrating unrelated facts, the teacher can develop a lesson about the importance of leadership and courage in contemporary times.
It is also important to devise ingenious ways of facilitating student participation. College and universities must invest in research and development, especially with regards to the creation of interactive learning schemes. In the present time, it is easier to develop state-of-the-art learning facilities due to the accelerated development of Information Technology and computer hardware. Teachers must keep in mind that the ultimate goal is to improve student performance and not to make life easier for professors and instructors.
Freire made a valid point when he criticized the ineffective teaching method employed by teachers all over the United States. It is imperative to develop creative ways to transmit knowledge. More importantly, it is critical to developing a system wherein students are inspired to collaborate with teachers when it comes to absorbing information, as well as the discovery of new insights. However, there is the danger of creating a learning method that falls short in the delivery of critical information, such as information about medical science and engineering. Freire’s ideas must be tempered using Loewen’s suggestion to re-package existing material, and make it more interesting and accessible to college students.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: The Continuum International Publishing Group, 2006.
Loewen, James. Lies My Teacher Told Me: Everything Your American History Textbook Got Wrong. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2007. Print.