The Banking Concept and Problem-Posing Education

Paulo Freire does a good job of alarming the reader as to why we need education.  When a group of people is being oppressed, they will eventually become the oppressors.  This is a cycle that is found throughout history and is all too common.  According to Freire, “It is a rare peasant who, once ‘promoted’ to overseer, does not become more of a tyrant towards his former comrades than the owner himself”.  According to Freire, this problem has not been solved.  Freire believes that there is a unique type of education that could fix this problem, one that unites the oppressors and the oppressed (from page 48 “…the pedagogy of the oppressed, a pedagogy which must be forged with, not for, the oppressed”).  In chapter 2, Freire describes the “banking concept of education”.  In my own personal experience, I avoided the “banking concept” by attending Occidental instead of a giant university with hundreds of people in one class.  According to the “banking concept”, the knowledgeable teacher is the “depositor” of knowledge and the students are the “depositories”.  Freire believes that a “problem-posing education” could be successful in making students think critically about their development.  This type of education also eliminates the thought that teachers are all-powerful beings that can decide what the students learn and don’t learn.  These “teacher-students” are always cognitive and engaging in dialogue with the students.  The students become “critical co-investigators” with the teacher.


The first paragraph of my reflection summarizes the key points that stuck out to me.  As someone who attended a large public high school, the “banking” form of education resonates with me because there was an average of 50 students per teacher, so the teachers didn’t feel that they could engage in dialogues with their students.  Most of my friends attend large public universities (mostly UC and CSU schools) where there are classes with 300+ students and no student-teacher dialogue.  Overall, this was interesting reading and I would like to learn more about Paulo Freire’s ideas.


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