Some thoughts on banking theory

I used to think that the learning process is composed of the three procedures:  receive, memorize, and repeat. That impression is what the education I received taught me. While Paulo Freire is opposed against this banking concept of education. After reading this week’s material, I began to think back on my previous school years. I see that I was passively receiving the knowledge my teachers gave, until my junior years when I had the chance to do my own research. It was only then when I had my real passion for learning. Before then, I was merely motivated by getting high score in exams which sort of resulted in not questioning the authority – teachers. I do see the downside of banking education, that leads to students lacking creativity, and the ability to transform knowledge. Students are only good at withdrawing the knowledge when asked by the teacher or exammer. They’ve adapted to the education system, rather than truly taken in the knowledge.

I think getting undergraduate students or even high school or younger students exposed to research experience is a good way to avoid the banking style education. Because research is open-ended and simply depositing and withdrawing knowledge will not work. It requires constant questioning and can be challenging and encouraging at the same time.

How to reduce stereotype threat?

It makes people discouraged to take challenge in academia while being worried to be confirmed the limitation associated with stereotype. However, a lot of people are not aware that how much stereotype threat can devastate the effectiveness of education. One example is that the students with stereotype threat might not trust the feedback the teacher gives them. It’s very possible that they will wonder if the feedback is based on the quality of work or the stereotype of their abilities. Without the trust on feedback, they will not be motivated to improve. Then how to give critical and effective feedback? The paper by Whistling Vivaldi introduced Tom Ostrom strategy, which is able to break the stereotype by demanding more and believing the students are able to meet the demand. The criticism based on this strategy is more trustworthy. Not only in terms of feedback, it’s also really important to include identity safety while designing the class activities. Not necessarily by praising, but by maintaining a “calm working relationship”.