Blog 5 – Repairing the Student-Teacher Relationship and our Approach to Education

To progress as a society, we need to rethink the way we educate our students. This begins at the most basic level: the teacher-student relationship.

The “banking” model of education is a pervasive issue throughout academia that has defined this relationship for far too long. In this approach, students are conceptualized as receptacles into which knowledge is deposited in the classroom, effectively minimizing their role in the learning process. Freire describes this concept as ‘narrative,’ where the narrating subject (the teacher) simply dictates the course content to students in order to ‘fill’ them with knowledge. The banking model assumes reality is static and unchanging. Students are largely led to memorize the course content, a practice which rarely results in successfully transferring knowledge outside of the classroom. In actuality, knowledge and the world around us is dynamic and situated in a cultural context. For education to be effective, it must be reconsidered.

Critical pedagogy provides a more effective approach for the modern classroom. Instead of playing a passive role, students are encouraged to think about and challenge the dominant narratives in society. At its core, critical pedagogy recognizes that social justice cannot be separated from education – as Freire suggests, knowledge is situated in a larger context that is subject to cultural, social, and political influences. Neglecting to recognize this is not only incorrect, but also fails to teach students to think critically about the oppressive structures present in society.

As teachers, we must stray away from the banking model and adopt a more interactive, critical approach in our classrooms. We must learn with our students, educating ourselves on the context and culture of the material we teach.  We must recognize that not doing so fails to give our students the power to think independently, and fails to prepare the next generation of citizens to think critically about the problems we face.


  1. Thanks for sharing! I agree with your perspective here. Our method of teaching will be reflected in future generations, adding even more pressure on teachers to educate their students as the future not as passive subjects. However, I think we are still struggling on how to implement critical pedagogy in our classrooms while still ensuring to provide students with the core principles of knowledge they need to learn. Personally, I think a balance between critical pedagogy approach and traditional approach is they key, yet it remains one of the hardest thing to achieve. Probably, because the banking approach is still deep rooted in our education system, it is more a process of slow transition phase with trials and errors that we have to go through before reaching the next one.

  2. I agree with you as well with social justice not being separated from education. As some of the readings were saying, I feel like we all too often think of the classroom as a “bubble”, where the professor is always right. Neither the professor nor the students are fully humanized in this narrative; the professor’s knowledge is seen as the point the students need to work toward, and the student is usually seen as inferior. However, critical pedagogy gives me more of the feeling that the student and professor are working together to achieve common goals such as questioning dubious narratives in society. As such, learning becomes a combined effort, instead of one person putting knowledge into the head of another.

  3. I agree than the banking model rarely results in the successful transfer of knowledge to the students and it is also not a two way system, where the teacher and the students can learn from each other. Oppressive structures are present in our society and students do need to know bout such structures, to be the carriers of change, abolishing such structures. Critical thinking is a key to breaking the norms of the oppressive society in the classroom and the only path to effective learning.

    Great Post!

    Keep up the good work.

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