While reading some of Paulo Friere’s ideas in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed” (or translated ideas, rather) I could not help but make the connection to the saying we all heard and read about incessantly a few years ago regarding particular financial institutions in the United States, that they were “too big to fail.” The connection started because I was not exactly paying attention as I was reading and came across the term “banking concept of education” and immediately thought he was talking about Chase. I then focused in on the reading and realized while I was not entirely incorrect, it was more about the interactions taking place between tellers and customers and how education mirrors these uninspiring, detrimental transactions between teachers and students.
For some reason, though, I kept getting stuck on the actual bank part, which then got me thinking about that saying “too big to fail.” After reading Joe Kinchloe talk about critical pedagogy in school I think I was able to figure out why I could not get that saying out of my head. Coupling the ideas of the oppressed vs. those in power and how teachers need to challenge themselves to become critical complex educators it made me realize we live in a world where our education system is viewed as too big to fail. Or maybe not fail exactly, but too big to change. Teachers, and probably even students, look at how the education system works today and while they may agree it is not perfect, would most likely say that it is working well enough so why would there be a need to radically change it? Why start a revolution if the situation is not dire?
One may read Friere’s words and think, “But we are not oppressed here in the United States, so this is different.” That obviously depends on multiple factors (that I will not get into here), but I think it is worth pointing out to someone who may think that that our education system can be paralleled with our banking system in that regard. We are lead to believe everything must remain the way it is because if it were to change then all hell would break loose, when really it would just be challenging the powers that be.