Friday, March 6, 2015

Essay: Banking and Problem-Posing Concept

This essay was originally written in 2013.

In chapter two of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, author Paulo Freire discusses what he feels is an important educational issue. Freire's chapter focuses on two types of teaching: the banking and problem-posing methods. He clearly believes that one form of education is better than the other. Freire strongly criticizes the banking approach, but genuinely supports the problem-posing method.

To open his discussion, Freire starts with a brief scenario and description introducing the banking approach. He describes the banking concept of education as teachers depositing information into the heads of students, who are only capable of receiving the information. Banking is when teachers talk and lecture, and the students simply memorize what is being said. Through this process, students will not understand the meaning behind an answer. They will not know how an answer is derived, nor why something is the way it is. Students will not fully comprehend an explanation; they will just memorize facts without understanding the reason or significance. No critical thinking is involved with banking. Freire shames the approach for these reasons.

Freire strongly criticizes the banking method throughout the chapter. He believes that memorizing minimizes creativity. Students are not able to think outside the box when they are absorbing a teacher's rant. Students do not have the opportunity to think hardly about something with banking. Freire believes that this is a problem because it will eventually lead to students accepting the world, which will basically be handed to them. Those who are depositing the information may want this since it keeps everything the same, but students won't be able to have their own thoughts or interpretations with banking. Freire goes on to mention an alternative to the banking method.

The problem-posing educational approach is a much better strategy compared to banking. Freire considers it to be the solution for education. It includes cooperation between the students and teachers. Students may propose questions along with the teachers. The problem-posing approach involves dialogue and creativity, unlike the banking method. In the problem-posing method, the teacher does not tell students the answers; rather, he or she helps them think through the process. Students have more freedom to think, but also get assistance from their teacher. All of this leads to critical thinking skills.

In addition, both teachers and students should interact with the outside world together and deal with reality. Students are more challenged with the problem-posing method, and they must test their knowledge. With the problem-posing method, humans are considered unfinished, meaning that there is always room for individuals to grow and increase their knowledge. In general, Friere believes that a true education comes from both the teacher and students.


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