From Banks to Freedom

Throughout my life, I often heard fellow students say “What’s the point in learning this?” or “I’m never going to need this; that class is a waste of time”. I also made the same complaints throughout my educational career. I think that the banking concept of education that Paulo Freire elaborated on in Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed has helped to create this type of attitude toward learning. By treating students as containers to fill with information, I think the information lacks significance in students lives. bell hooks touched on the importance of connecting classroom content with personal experience when she talks about “engaged pedagogy” in Teaching to Transgress: Education as a Practice of Freedom. I think that by moving towards engaged pedagogy, the information that is taught to students won’t seem as useless and dull.

I felt a connection to bell hook’s writing when she talked about her ideas about intellectuals prior to entering the world of higher education. While I was in high school I had this romantic vision of college. I pictured it as a place where I would be moved by my learnings, where I could possibly find purpose,and where I loved the classroom. However upon entering college I was surprised at how different it was compared to my preconceived ideas. The majority of my classes felt like I was self teaching by reading, and the classroom was only there to supplement my reading, in case I had any questions or needed clarification. At that point I was disappointed. “Is this what I should expect for the next four years of my life?” I thought to myself. I think that the concept of teaching and learning should be more of an intimate and fluid experience. Student and teacher both learning from each other, and helping each other reach “self-actualization” as bell hooks mentions. In this manner, I think the classroom becomes more impactful to both the students’ and teachers’ lives. To use education as a tool to liberate would in my opinion prevent students from feeling like depositories for information that doesn’t seem to hold significance. To use education to liberate would illuminate the classroom and give students and teachers deeper appreciation for each other and what is being learned.

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