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The Banking Model of Education Report (Assessment)

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Updated: Aug 5th, 2021

In the work Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire refers to the traditional method of teaching using a metaphoric term “the banking model of education.” According to this model, students are viewed as depositories to be filled with knowledge. Traditional classrooms are teacher-centered, which means that the teacher acts as a narrator transmitting experience and values to the students. Students, in turn, become passive objects that are to record, memorize, and repeat the given information without any active participation in the flow of a lesson. In the banking concept of education, the teacher is considered to be knowledgeable and experienced in contrast to the students who are supposed to be “blank slates,” or, in other words, entirely ignorant of the world around.

Freire argues that by treating students as “receptacles” of content, the bank-clerk educator makes the process of learning mechanical, lifeless, and detached from reality. There emerges a contradiction between the teacher and the student, which characterizes the ideology of oppression and “negates education and knowledge as processes of inquiry” (Freire, 1968, p. 21). Banking education regards students as manageable beings who adjust to “the world as it is and to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them” (Freire, 1968, p. 22). Such an approach hinders the development of their critical consciousness, minimizes, or even annuls learners’ creative power and ability to think critically. Knowingly or unknowingly, bank-clerk teachers turn human beings into automatons and dehumanize them. Thus, the banking concept of education serves the interests of oppressors since the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to the situation, the more easily they can be dominated.

Banking education tends to regulate and obviate thinking, as well as adapt people to the world of oppression, so it cannot satisfy the needs of humanistic society in the 21st century. Teachers must neither think for their students, nor must they impose their thought on the students since authentic thinking does not take place in isolation but only in communication. Real education should be a dialogue in which the teacher and students can share their experience in a non-hierarchical way, becoming jointly responsible for the process. Consequently, all the participants can grow and, as Freire states, “teach each other, mediated by the world, by the cognizable objects,” which in the banking approach are “owned” by the teacher (p. 26).

Reference

Freire, P. (1968). Pedagogy of the oppressed. Web.

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