I still remember my high school’s motto of “Education is the core of a nation.” This school motto emphasizes the importance of education, which helps children to become future leaders. So parents struggle to keep up with their children’s education, and they want their children to have the best education. Since every person has a different style of learning, we cannot give a definition of the best education for everyone. However, I believe there are some ways to study effectively and that is what Freire wants to tell us. In the essay The ‘banking’ Concept of Education, Freire described the current education as ‘banking concept of education’, in which the students as depositories only receive the information and teachers as depositors, give the information only like making deposits. He claims that a liberating education involving the ‘give and take’ between teacher and student is a better style of education than the ‘banking concept of education’. I strongly agree with Freire’s liberating education style because not only does the “banking concept of education” make students think less critically and detracts teachers’ authority from students but also, Freire’s ideal problem-posing method helps student receiving deep and new information, teaches students the importance of interchanging personal ideas with other people, and teaches student how to cooperate with other people.
Students develop critical consciousness by interchanging personal opinions and information with his or her colleagues and teachers during the classes. Freire says, ‘The more students work at storing the deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world’. During each class, students could have different thoughts and ideas on the subject and some of them could be right, wrong and neither right nor wrong. As students hear his or her classmates’ different thoughts and think about those different thoughts, they learn how to think critically. On the other hand, in the banking concept of education, students are not allowed to talk to each other or insist in presenting personal opinions to teachers, which cannot be an effective education for students.
People who agree with ‘banking education system’ think the teacher’s authority is strong in ‘banking education system’ and students truly respect teachers, however it is not true. In my light of experience, ‘banking education system’ makes students ignore and disrespect the teacher’s authority.
I had the opportunity to see how this disrespect for the teacher appears. If the teacher does not allow students to express their opinions on a topic, then the teacher loses the opportunity to explain to students why he is right and they are wrong. Because students only listen and record, they might strongly believe that the teacher is wrong, and have no opportunity to show this, and therefore, they may remain with this conviction, even though it could be wrong. Also, a teacher who does not engage in any way with the students, and remains distant by only presenting them the information, and then leaving, will remain a stranger to the students, and will have no moral authority over them. One can truly respect someone he or she admires, and ne cannot admire someone he or she does not know at all, or did not have the opportunity to talk freely to.
Is the true meaning of education having students receive the knowledge or teaching students to know how to look up the knowledge? Students can get deep and new information from the problem-posing method. In Freire’s essay The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education, Freire says “The role of the problem-posing educator is to create, together with the students, the conditions under which knowledge at the level of the doxa is superseded by true knowledge at the level of the logos”. This means that the student critically examines general truths or information that is believed by the society to be unquestionably true and forms his or her own judgment concerning that topic, rather than simply acquiring this piece of information and believing it to be true only because everyone else does.
By engaging critically with a topic or in a discussion, students may do their own research in order o find out more about a topic, in order to be able to argument against an opinion, or find additional information concerning a topic. This will benefit the student twofold, by transforming him into a critical thinker, what Freire calls, a “transformer” of the world, and also by allowing him to acquire new information, both in the process of independent research, and in the free discussion with the teacher, and with other students. For example, in a discussion I had in class about President Kennedy’s assassination, I found out much new information on related issues. Moreover, as I got home, I immediately accessed the internet and tried my best to find information that would help me make my point and win the argument against my classmates. This led me to new and inciting information about a variety of related topics, which I did not necessarily use the next day in class.
Since Problem-posing educational system is based on freedom of interchanging information with other people, unlike ‘Banking concept of education’, people educated in problem-posing education know how to listen to other people attentively and know how to speak up their personal opinions even when majority go against their opinions. A person who was educated according to this system is more likely to feel at ease giving a public discourse than a person who has a banking system of education, because he is more used to speaking up in front of teachers and students.
Also, in a debate, a person who had a problem-posing education is more likely to have reasonable arguments, ad to organize and deliver them in an effective manner, than a person who had a banking system of education, and was rarely required, or in the position, of thinking critically about a point. For example, I have a friend who was educated according to the banking system of education, and was never able to engage in debates within our group of friends, because he simply failed to give effective counter-arguments, though sometimes, he was maybe right, because he was either too inhibited to express himself, or lacked the ability of creating a successful argument.
Although some problems may appear while using Freire’s problem –posing education system, such as less emphasis placed on theoretical aspects, discipline and memorization, the outcome is far superior to that of the banking system. The liberating system creates leaders and transformers of the world, whereas the banking system creates oppressed individuals, who are only capable of doing what others tell them and do not have the necessary skills and formation to question the leaders’ policies, or even to assess the truth value of common knowledge. In a democratic system, the people should be educated so as to be able to monitor, to evaluate and to discuss the leaders’ decisions, and not be silenced and taught to remain quiet and take or granted everything that their superiors tell them.