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:
- 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).
- 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.
- Re-conceptualize the meaning of teaching and adopt a more dynamic way of learning.
- 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).
October 20, 2015 @ 7:10 pm
Yes! Wonderful! I really love how on point you were with the definition of banking concept of education. You’re absolutely correct in that it’s a lazy way of teaching because the instructors don’t have to think beyond the material they already have. Then you bring it home with how not to be like these people who embrace the banking mentality. I think this is just a really well rounded yet concise post. Well done 🙂
October 20, 2015 @ 10:25 pm
Great imagery! I concur; the banking concept eliminates agency, democracy, and ownership of students’ learning and their learning community, so it leaves the instructor as the sole proprietary to impart/construct knowledge. In contrast, the problem-posing concept is beneficial to students’, because it permits students with the ability to openly share their ideas, thoughts, knowledge, or experiences as well as question and assert their viewpoints, which then allows peer-to-peer educating/discussing different perspectives.
The open space creates learning in deeper levels of cogitation and an even more depth of knowledge in probing and questioning the instructor, so it would be imperative for the instructor to consider the ways they open discussion(s) and mediate discussion(s) in the learning environment. There are pros and cons to both concepts, but the instructor is tasked with identifying a balance between both concepts to have students demonstrate their understanding of the specific topic to challenge the instructor, provide opportunities for students’ to demonstrate their knowledge in teaching their peers and the instructor, occasions where students will learn solely from the instructor, and learn from their peers, but most of all learn from themselves.
October 21, 2015 @ 3:27 pm
I love your pointers on how to diverge from the banking concept of education. I used to have in my mind that critical thinking was primarily attached to problem solving skills, until I read Freire. I really opened my mind when he talks about problem posing… what!?! Of course, if we don’t recognize there is a problem, how are we going to solve it? This is particularly helpful in oppressed sides of society. By helping students develop that skill, we are empowering students to speak up and create a better place for themselves and their communities.
October 21, 2015 @ 5:59 pm
I couldn’t agree more with your first idea about how to break away from this banking mentality. Having humility and realizing you may not have all the answers as a teacher may make you seem vulnerable, which I’m sure some teachers don’t like, but it also will make you approachable and convey the message that you are still learning yourself! Students need to realize that learning doesn’t stop when you reach a certain age/get a certain job (at least it shouldn’t!). I think this realization as a student that even the almighty teacher is still learning is encouraging and promotes an environment conducive for discussion. And I think students will feel more comfortable asking questions and joining the discussion now that they’re not afraid of not knowing everything because their teacher doesn’t everything either!
October 21, 2015 @ 7:35 pm
Thank you for the helpful list in your blog- I can see myself referencing this later as a professor. I also can imagine myself- unfortunately- starting as a new professor with these ideas in the forefront of my mind. I do worry that as I teach for several years, I will lose my enthusiasm for trying new styles and trying to accommodate my students (not purposely, of course, but maybe if I get into a certain pattern of teaching, I become comfortable). How can we keep ourselves in check? Maybe we are to continually revisit readings like this, or create a “self-assessment” for both the class and ourselves that reflect our teaching. What do you think?
October 21, 2015 @ 9:00 pm
Great post! I love your idea that “classroom should be an exchange of information, creativity and critical thinking”. I had a “banking model” experience in one of my college classes. The teacher was just reading his slides for us in class. I can understand he was a new instructor and nervous in front of his students. However, it was not a correct start of the teaching career. New teacher can learn from the success model of those popular teachers and try to change their “banking model”. Teachers should also learn from their students: exchange ideas, emphasize their feedback, and learn from their critical thinking.
October 21, 2015 @ 9:30 pm
Ayesha, very interesting and important points you list at the end of your post. I can connect a lot with the need to redefine our concepts of education where the students are more engaged and are the center of learning not only passive receptors.
October 21, 2015 @ 9:38 pm
Great post! Your list of pointers is great. The first one really hits the nail on the head. Learning to give up power is so against conventional teaching approaches that I think it’s a huge challenge and something we have to be constantly mindful of.
March 31, 2018 @ 12:43 am
grate information i like it
March 31, 2018 @ 12:43 am
Great post! Your list of pointers is great. thnxx
April 12, 2018 @ 8:03 pm
What a nice article? I concur with you especially on the effects of the banking concept