Freire’s “banking” concept of education, was really interesting for me to read about (per his explanation students are seen as banks and the teacher is the depositor). He uses various analogies to explain this point and emphasizes that this concept can lead to oppression of students (never though of it this way but makes sense). Students are not passive recipients and Teachers are not the authority (all the time) and the knowledgeable ones.

Honestly, when I reflect on my educational experiences in the U.S, I wish I could say that none of my faculty have had this “banking” approach towards teaching and education. Unfortunately , this is not the case- even in some of my PhD classes it has been the trend. These are the classes I have been disengaged with. The classes that see students as passive objects to be acted upon are the least interesting and lack creativity in teaching. These are the classes I have been least invested in, and these are the classes in which I cannot recall the subject matter.  Frankly, it is a lazy way of teaching.

So the questions is – What do we do about it? How can we change this way of thinking?

To start I believe there are several things we must do as young teachers to not embrace the “banking” mentality:

  1. Learn to give up the power and the mentality that teachers are experts (Teachers may know a lot about a topic but that does not mean that they are perfect). We can all improve and learn from others (aka students as well).
  2. Learn to empathize- put your self in the students shoes and ask yourself: is this the way I learn? Hopefully the answer is NO and it is time to start thinking differently.
  3. Re-conceptualize the meaning of teaching and adopt a more dynamic way of learning.
  4. Lastly, know that it is not always about you (as the teacher), the classroom is a place where there should be an exchange of information, creativity and critical thinking (Freire call this a “problem-posing” approach).