To be filled or to be fulfilled

Accept the passive role! Fill your bucket from the knowledge that I give you! Only my knowledge can fill your bucket!

While reading for this week I kept having flashbacks to classrooms in which I learned to be the passive student and accept the knowledge that the all-knowing professor gave to me, then spit it back to them on an exam.  I (probably like others in the class) got pretty good at this.  Some of my professors were worse than others at practicing the bank method of education.  These were as bad as Freire describes with full lecture halls, the prof talking for 50 min non-stop, students frantically taking notes to go home and memorize.  Freire calls for a complete tearing down of the banking system and says that most profs would fight this because they would like to preserve a system which is profitable for the powerful (them).  In my flashbacks, I can definitely see some of my banking profs having this attitude.  The know-it-alls who obviously enjoy feeling like they know everything and that students should sit down, shut up, and listen to their brilliance in the subject they are teaching.

However…  I’m not sure I completely buy into the complete destruction of our banking education for the complete replacement of problem-proposing education (PPE).  I really like the spirit of Freire’s PPE in which you force more student interaction with the world around them, teaching students how to think instead of what to think.  But I also see the importance in the transfer of key concepts in what could be considered as a deposit of knowledge (the ugly banking education way).  I think some things just need to be taught and accepted by the student so that the class as a whole can move onto more exploratory, challenging, and interesting problems.  Therefore I think a mix of these strategies is appropriate and indeed is what I have enjoyed the most about my favorite profs and classes in the past.  I like classes where you are given the tools (the prof makes a knowledge deposit) and then you get to play with those tools to solve interesting problems (more PPE style).

Or… am I not understanding Freire correctly?? For examples, I’m reading this as, classic lecturing is narrative and therefore bad and needs to be removed from the classroom.  Is there such a thing as cognitive lecturing that is okay and can stay in the classroom?  Would Freire be okay with my plan of some traditional lecturing mixed with problem based learning?  Or would he say I’m snatching away my students’ purpose and replacing it with my own purpose (insert evil laughter here)?

Just an aside… I felt like Freire was a little dramatic in his attack on banking education.  You can definitely tell the man had some passion, but maybe a little over the top with the comparison to slavery…

Category(s): GEDI

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