Freire Questions

  1. The “banking” concept refers to the method of education wherein students are considered no more than empty containers to be filled with knowledge; this term applies because the process resembles the transfer of funds between checking accounts at a bank.
  2. The “banking” concept undermines the humanity of both the teacher and the students in the context of education, excluding the human elements creative, thoughtful inquiry and interaction with the outside world.
  3. Teachers under the “banking” concept are unaware of the harm they do to their students “by considering their ignorance absolute,” or buying into the idea that they really are empty receptacles.
  4. The essay argues that, under the “banking” concept, the “oppressors” (the teachers) stand as the sole benefactors of the system.
  5. “Problem-posing” education is given this name because it describes a situation in which the teacher proposes questions to the students. The basic effect is to facilitate and improve the critical thinking of all parties involved.
  6. In encouraging thoughtful participation and inquiry on the part of the students, the “problem-posing” concept of education acknowledges that the students play an active role in the learning process, rather than the passive role cast for them by the “banking” concept.
  7. I have been in several such classrooms, wherein the teacher taught essentially “to the test.” Minimal guidance was given, and no emphasis was placed on comprehensive understanding of the subject.
  8. I have also been in several classrooms which exemplified the “problem-posing” concept of education. In these classrooms, not only was more guidance given, but thoughtful discussion and inquiry were encouraged, processes in which the teacher was directly involved.
  9. “Banking” and “problem-posing” environments are by no means limited to schools. For example, the distinction can be seen in the area of politics: those politicians who selfishly exploit their positions as a means to the end of personal gain are the “banking politicians,” whereas those who attempt to make a genuine difference for the good of the people are the “problem-posing politicians” who engage in a collaborative effort with the government to find ways to achieve this end.
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4 thoughts on “Freire Questions

  1. The part about politicians is an interesting concept, but I wonder can we suggest that the same way people disagree with politicians methods when they don’t understand them, do students do the same thing a lot when they cannot see their correlation to their developing reality? I think so.

  2. Very incisive answers, Andrew. Think more carefully about #4, though: where is Freire locating the source of oppression? Or, to put it another way, if we take Freire’s definition of what is good for humans, is the banking concept good for anyone, teachers included?

    • I suppose you’re right; the only thing the banking concept is good for is supporting the regime of the oppressors (who are not the teachers themselves, but rather those whom banking concept teachers serve), and thus it only supports the teachers insofar as they support this regime. Also, even though the banking concept in this way confers power upon the oppressors and the teachers that support it, Freire would argue that this is not morally “good.”

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