In Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire describes two major models of education, the “banking” model and the “problem solving” model. Freire demonstrates his dislike for the “banking” system and describes it as an oppressive system with no room for independent thinking. As opposed to the “problem solving” model, which encourages freedom of creativity and change.
The “banking” model of education was defined as a system where students are taught to simply receive, memorize, and repeat information only to receive higher grades on standardized tests. This refrains students from communicating and implying education knowledge to the real world. In this model, the subject is the teacher and the listening object are the students. The students are described as “depositories” and the teacher is described as a “depositor”. The teacher makes the deposit and the student receives, files, and stores the deposit. The students comply to the teachers choice, but have no idea that they have an opinion and can contradict the teacher. This takes away a student’s ability to be unique and creative, which is the most crucial part of learning. A student should not just be taught math or english, but instead they should also be taught about each other. The “banking” system intervenes a student from the world because they are not aware of their critical consciousness. An example of the “banking” model is standardized testing. Students are taught how to take the test as opposed to obtaining educational knowledge for the test. The teacher just presented information since they knew “everything” and the student was expected to follow because they knew “nothing”. It was like an empty account that was waiting a deposit.
The “problem solving” model engages students and teachers to work together in communicating and learning information. Both sides present their opinion, so that there are multiple perspectives. “In problem-posing education, men develop their power to perceive critically the way they exist in the world with which and in which they find themselves; they come to see the world not as a static reality, but as a reality in process, in transformation”. The students are taught to change the world instead of having to change for the world. The teacher is also learning and the students are teaching each other. Classrooms are more engaging and students are taught to think critically and evaluate. This system helps students find their creativity and helps lead them to their success. Students are not just restating information, but creating arguments and oppositions. It gives students the skill they need to know to differentiate them from other student’s. An example of “problem solving” model is when teachers engage lectures by creating different teaching methods. Instead of just speaking or putting up power points, teachers create critical questions or engaging conversations that help present information in different ways. This creates a comfortable and entertaining way of learning.
I felt that the “problem solving” model was more compelling. Students are taught to be creative and express a variety of perspectives. This creates understanding and distinguishes a student from another. Students are also taught knowledge that they will have stored in their brains and can use in the future. It helps a person express themselves and be free, instead of speaking someone else’s words.
- Do you agree with Freire’s argument that the “problem-posing” model of teaching should replace the “banking” model of education?
- Which model do you believe we are experiencing today? How can we get to a “problem-posing” model of teaching?
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum. 1968