Paulo Freire’s essay The Banking Concept of Education is aimed at examining the relationship between teachers and learners. In particular, the author critiques the attempts to view children as “depositories” of knowledge (Freire 1). It should be mentioned that this essay was first published in the late sixties, at the time when Marxist ideology was often used by educators. In turn, Paulo Freire uses it to make connections between the methods used by teachers and the legitimization of social injustice and oppression. Overall, the author argues that knowledge should not be imposed on students because this approach will deprive them of critical thinking and distort their perception of reality. This is the main thesis that should be discussed in greater detail.
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The author provides several examples illustrating how conventional educational techniques can dehumanize a student. For instance, learners may be asked to memorize the names of capitals or multiplication table without using this knowledge or understanding why it is necessary (Freire 1). Moreover, Paulo Freire notes that many teachers perceive students as “mere objects” of the educational process (2). The main effect of this approach to education is that students are not encouraged to develop critical thinking skills. Moreover, they will accept the existing social reality without any question. In the long term, the domination of this uncritical worldview can eventually stifle every form of social or scientific progress. This is one of the details that should be taken into account by the readers.
Paulo Freire compares this approach to education to banking because students are simply commanded to store certain information without evaluating its validity or implications. Moreover, they become rather passive instead of trying to use or test the skills that they acquire (Freire 3). The main issue is that the development of a person becomes possible when he/she applies or verifies his/her assumptions about the world. Provided that an individual is not prompted to act in this way, he/she will not be able to benefit from education, In turn, the writer believes that educators should re-evaluate their perceptions of students. In particular, they need to remember that learners cannot be perceived as mere recipients of the information. This strategy can hardly contribute to the growth of an individual.
To a great extent, this essay highlights the main flaws of the educational methods which were used in the middle of the nineteenth century. In the author’s view, learners should become active participants of the educational process, and teachers should enable them to achieve this goal (Freire 4). This is one of the main arguments that the scholar puts forward.
Paula Freire notes that some teachers are quite content with the role of the authority figure. Moreover, they want to impose their thoughts on the learners. Nevertheless, they do not fully realize the harmful impacts of their strategies on students because many of them may not understand the joy of learning. This is one of the pitfalls that should be avoided. It should be mentioned that even now educators attempt to develop methods that can address the problems identified by Paulo Freire. Therefore, many of the concerns expressed by this scholar continue to be relevant.
Overall, many of Paulo Freire’s claims can be accepted because the author eloquently demonstrates how the authoritarian style of teaching can deprive a student of many opportunities for growth and development. Nevertheless, it is rather difficult to make connections between educational methods and social injustice or oppression. This rhetoric is based on a Marxist ideology, which is no longer applied by teachers. These are the main aspects that can be distinguished.
Freire Paulo. “The Banking Concept of Education.” Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Ed. Paulo Freire. New York: Continuum, 1993. 1-5. Print.