Paulo Reglus N. Freire was a renowned Brazilian philosopher and educator whose contributions and ideologies on issues relating to educational instruction laid the foundation for the current instructional concept called critical pedagogy. Freire is known to have clamorously attacked the common routines in classroom where students were often given a passive role storing information during the process of education. This undesirable mode of instruction is called banking education. This paper seeks to analyze Paulo Freire's article titled The “Banking” Concept of Education from a student and well-informed reader’s perspective with a view of appraising Freire's contentions in the article before proceeding to provide suggestions for the use of the article.
Freire discerns learning or the teacher-student relationship as having a fundamental narrative character involving the teacher as the subject and students as the listening objects. Freire asserts that instruction in education has taken a dangerous route in which the teachers are basically playing the roles of depositors of information which students are depositories for depositing information. The students are perceived as blank states which you be filled by a “knowledgeable” teacher. According to Freire, students who are unable to store the information effectively and be able to reproduce the information in an exam room are considered to be bad products of the educational system. Unfortunately, as Freire further notes, the solution to this glaring sickness of the education system is expected to be found in banking education. Freire also laments that even though education should strive to enable humans to function fully as humans, banking education only facilitates the automation of the students to be people who struggle to follow instruction without oppugning the instruction. Freire proceeds to write that this is a process that occurs knowingly and unknowingly. As a solution to banking education, Freire’s also canvasses an approach called “problem-posing. As Freire notes, problem-posing approach enable dialogue during the education process besides enabling students to become co-investigators of the concepts learnt in class. The approach advocates for a learning environment in which the students are allowed to actively take part in the learning process. Citing that banking education inhibits creativity, Freire contends that problem-posing approach (by allowing students to actively take part in the learning process) encourages the students to be creative as the solutions to learning problem in the classroom has to be formulated by them.
Reading through the article, one cannot fail to notice how the author articulates his assertions against banking education. It is true that a learning process in which the learner is given a passive role of just being present and storing information has a diminishing effect on the overall development of the learner. Faire writes that “the more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world” (Faire 2). However, judging from what Faire writes about the problem-posing approach, the authority of the teacher seem to be vitiated in this setup as what the teacher and the students employ is dialogue. Noting that there are certain responsibilities of a teacher like issuance of assignments which need to be done with use of authority for them to be taken seriously, I feel that a vitiation of the authority of the teacher in a classroom might lead to some unprecedented negative results. I imagine a scenario in a scenario whereby a teacher in a classroom employing the problem-posing approach has to ask students “if they do not mind taking home assignments for the weekend”.
Often, teacher training courses emphasize the importance of classroom management. Classroom management in the absence of authority appears to be an elusive task. In this regard, the problem-posing approach as described by Faire should still be probed in a bid to make necessary changes, particularly with regard to enabling the teacher to reserve some authority over the students while encouraging them to actively take part in the learning process.
My critique of the problem-posing approach proposed by Faire should not be taken to mean that I support banking education. I understand that passiveness on the part of the student during any learning process does not encourage cognitive development and is perhaps the leading cause of the academic underachievement. Banking education is by all means not a good learning approach. I concur with Faire that teachers should only be facilitators of learning and this cannot be attained in banking education. Ideally, Freire’s text serves as a discussion for the consideration of different forms of educational models so as to determine the best. In this case, Freire explains how the inclusion of learners in the learning process is good for cognitive growth unlike banking education which does not promote inclusion of learners. Thus, the text considers other models and their shortcomings in order to underscore the usefulness of the problem-posing model.
Opinionatedly, the somewhat humorous examples that Freire uses to accentuate his assertions really serve to make the reader perceive the execrable nature of banking education. For instance, Freire writes that students in banking education simply know that "Four times four is sixteen, and the capital of Pará is Belém" without spending time to know what four really is, what times means, nor what capital mean. The statement is humorous even though is effectively captures the situation that is brought about by banking education. Such comic assertions really serve the make the article easily understandable.
In regard to the foregoing, it emerges clearly that the text finds its application among different stakeholders in education such as educational policy makers, teachers and educators, curriculum developers, teachers’ trainers and even parents. Educational policy makers can through the interaction with the text, appreciate the extent to which the type of instruction serves influences the learning process. The article can help policy makers acknowledge and recommend the best approaches and strategies for teacher-student interaction, to the benefit of the object, the learners.
Concisely, the above discussion clearly illustrates the fact that the effectiveness of an educational system is fundamentally dependent upon the instructional approach used during the learning process. In the article, Freire expresses his opposition to banking education while advocating for problem-posing approach to education. Freire illustrates that problem-posing approach is when learners are actively involved in the learning process unlike in the banking education approach in which learners are reduced to depositories where teachers (depositors) deposit information for storage by the learner. Even though problem-posing appears as having potentially diminishing effects to the authority of the teacher in the classroom, the approach is by all means better than banking education. Additionally, the article is directly related to the topic of pedagogical approaches in education hence can be used to aid in appraising effective instructional approaches.
Freire, Paulo. (n.d.). The Banking Concept of Education. Class Notes. Print