In Paulo Freire’s The “Banking” Concept of Education

In Paulo Freire’s The “Banking” Concept of Education, he reveals the misguided learning relationship between students and teachers and proposes an alternate method that benefits education and society as a whole. Freire explains that students do not fully understand the significance or connection of what they learn, they are only “memorizing” (Freire 1) what their teachers deem important. From my experience in formal education, I can say that in many instances facts are just thrown at students and we are expected to continually repeat them without knowing the importance of such information. Instead of being able to connect what I had learned about to the world around me, I was left with the unanswered question of “why?”. Throughout the text, Freire describes teachers as these all-knowing figures and students as blank slates solely dependent on teachers knowledge. He states the “educator’s role is to regulate the world “entering into” the students” (Freire 4). This statement made me realize the importance of an open and interchangeable dialogue between students and teachers. “People teach each other” (Freire 7) and we are all responsible for the growth of each other. I’ve come to realize that most of the interesting and important things I have learned have been from “informal” interactions with other people and open discussions in class.

The second half of this reading shares a similar message with John Dewey’s My Pedagogic Creed. Both of these passages suggest that school must be a “social institution” (Dewey 2) in order to encourage true education. Dewey believes that education comes from social interactions between people in a community. Likewise, Freire states that learning “cannot be carried out in isolation” (Freire 11) because “only through communication can human life hold meaning (Freire 5). We must rely on each other because we learn through our life experiences and our interactions. Although each of us develops at different rates “education… is a process of living” (Dewey 3). As we live, we learn and we use our knowledge to further inform and shape our communities. Only through education, we are able to impact society in a meaningful way.

Question: What do you believe is a “proper” or better way to educate people compared to modern methods? Why?