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.

19 thoughts on “Some thoughts on banking theory”

  1. The first sentence in your post brought me back to high school immediately. When we were preparing for the College Entrance Exam, we were forced to received much more knowledge that we can absorb in class, memorize it all day except the limited amount of sleeping time (sometimes I even dreamed about it), and did exercise repeatedly until I cannot be more familiar with the pattern to solve the problems anymore. This is a conservative way to ensure that we get good grades under big pressure with a single chance, like robots with program imbed that can perform exactly the same every time even without a brain. I wish we could be able to learn driven by our interests and curiosities. Thank you for sharing.

  2. I remember in school my teacher used to say that if they could just open our brains and pour the knowledge in they would. It wasn’t about learning the knowledge or the material. I agree there is a lost of creativity when we forced this “procedure” on students. Banking education is dangerous at times. We turn off students to going further or truly understanding the potential of what education can be or mean for an individuals. I recently took a workshop for Budget Board at Virginia Tech and another student wanted to know if the material would be on a test. There was this expectation of just being able to repeat back the material instead of embracing the help the workshop offered. You make a good point about exposing students to research experience. Research can allow for students to have a form of creativity that maybe can help show how learning can embrace what you are interested in and help you beyond memorizing facts.

  3. I think it’s an excellent idea to get undergrads involved in research questions. Can research activities also be compared to the banking system? We all know about bad or incremental research that takes a previous paper, does similar work with some changes and publishes it for the sake of publication. In my opinion in teaching as well as research the most important thing is to tie back to the real world and critically approach it with a free mind.

  4. Great post! I fully agree with you on starting the research early for students and not just at the university level but from an even younger age (the earlier students start the better they will get by the time they reach college). I also believe that with the changes in technology and the ease with which one can research now- compared to prior decades, this should enhance the creativity and approaches for teachers and students.

  5. Really great idea! I think your experience is really similar to my own in terms of becoming engaged and asking my own questions when I started being exposed to research. I think a way to get students thinking critically may not require work in the laboratory/on research trials (even though that would be ideal), but rather bringing up primary research and posing the questions to students that current research in our field is trying to answer. It may be difficult to grasp at first, but getting students into the mindset that there are numerous questions that we still need answered and those answers only come from our own critical thinking will hopefully help motivate more students to be engaged and view learning as a passion rather than a chore.

  6. I’ll just support what’s already been said about how integral research is to teaching and learning — and the disruption of the banking model. I really enjoyed reading about your own epiphanies here, Ping.

  7. I like how you reflected on your own experiences. You bring a very interesting point about how educators should start embracing these concepts before graduate schools and even in high schools. By the time we finish high school, we are so used to being passive that it becomes hard to break out of our shell and be creative!

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