A Brief Analysis Of ?The Banking Concept Of Education? Essay, Research Paper
A brief analysis of ?The Banking Concept of Education?
There have always been numerous theories in relationship to the inadequacy of our education system here in the United States, as well as elsewhere in the world. The education of our children does not seem to be working and ahs also become a very complex and confusing subject, as many immigrants move into the country requiring special language instruction, unnecessary classes such as art and music are removed, adequate funding for materials is harder to obtain, and children live in fear of violence within their classrooms. These are the main concerns of the educational system today, but these may well not be the real problems within the schools. It may be that education has never allowed children to think for themselves, and the problems we are experiencing today are hard felt due to the fact that correct education was not implemented long ago. The subject of inadequate education is the subject of Paulo Freire?s essay ?The ?Banking? Concept of Education.? While he does not address the specific realities previously mentioned, the finger he points at the method of educating clearly indicates that this may well be a reality in our country, as well as others.
Freire?s essay details a most fascinating concept of education called ?banking.? He illustrates how the teachers come tot he education system, intent on filling the childrens? heads with all the information they assume the children don?t know. It is like there is spare room in the child?s brain and it must be filled, like money fills up the bank. Freire states that ?Education thus becomes an act of depositing, in which the students are the depositories and the teacher is the depositor. Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiqu?s and makes deposits which the student patiently receive, memorize, and repeat? (208). In further examination of his theory he presents the following attitudes which clearly detail the various aspects of education covered in his essay:
a. the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
b. the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
c. the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
d. the teacher talks and the students listen-meekly;
e. the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
f. the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
g. the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
h. the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;
i. the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his own professional authority, which he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
j. the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects (209). Freire continues in this vein and thoroughly illustrates how these assumptions truly are a part of most educational systems. But he also provides a different perspective as well. But in offering the most effective method of moving from the obvious banking mold, he claims that ?one does not liberate men by alienating them,? indicating that these individuals who see his reasoning would do well to clearly attempt to change the education system, rather than openly oppose them, as is seen in many cases involving education where groups instill their own methods in a very alienating manner. This can be seen in many Christian schools as well as in home schooling, which is seen, by the majority of the society, as an incredibly alienating and self gratifying mode of education. In Freire?s proposal he illustrates that ?Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world. They must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with the posing of problems of men in their relationship with the world? (213). This idea of consciousness is incredibly enlightening in relationship to education, which is obviously not succeeding in its present condition in our country. And in relationship to other countries, this type of education, i.e. banking, can easily be spotted.
Hong Kong offers a prime example of such banking education practices today. While the past educational system of Hong Kong may well have been different, today there is a very heavy communist influence which has greatly effected the education system. Even such a simple reality such as all subjects being taught in English, to adequately prepare Hong Kong children for higher education in reputable colleges, is being replaced with native tongue. While this could be seen as loosening the bonds of the banking method, in actuality this is tightening them, for it is limiting the children to an educational level that the officials see as proper and adequate. This rings true with all that Freire has stated in relationship to the educators being in control and offering no freedom of thought to the children. In addition, the fact that there is a heavy communist influence also illustrates some of the banking methods, for communism is a highly controlling system of government. It is highly unlikely that any communist system would encourage enlightenment and consciousness in relationship to children thinking and contributing in an intelligent manner. It would be much more profitable for the system if the children were simply told what to do and what to learn. It should be noted that we, as Americans, may say that the method of education in Hong Kong is greatly controlling in a negative context, but the truth is that our system of education is not much different. It seems that the only difference between the two is that we can voice our unrest. This doesn?t mean anything will be done about it, but we can voice it all we want. This is our freedom.
Freire?s assumptions about people in general appear to be very accurate, in this writer?s opinion. It has often been felt by this writer, that the education the children were receiving was very stagnant and controlling. The schools seem much more involved in obtaining their money from the state, for the students? attendance, than they ever appear to be for the educational level of the children themselves. And in relationship to any issues concerning free thought and the development of consciousness, this is obviously not something taught in our school system in this country. When teachers need money and fear for their lives, consciousness on the part of the student, is the last thing on their mind. And even in situations where such realities are not threatening the teachers and the students, the old methods of education are blindly adhered to. The teacher is intent on giving the student information in a certain pattern, never truly demonstrating any enlightenment on their part.
From everything that was evident in the essay, it can easily be stated that Freire is very accurate in his theories and ideas. Children are not taught to be individuals and they are not taught to think for themselves. They are taught, for the most part, to be receptacles for the information the teacher wishes to deposit. They are not asked what they want. They are not asked what they are curious about or how they think. They are merely objects to train in a manner that makes them good citizens and depositors themselves.