Paulo Friere’s “Banking Concept of Education”


Background on Friere

  • Brazilian educator, in contact with the poor and particularly interested in giving them hope
  • Sees education as part of larger struggle for liberation -- education helps people see that they are oppressed adn aids in revolution
  • Was imprisoned; taught adult educators throughout Latin America
  • Some see him as the leading educational philosopher of the twentieth century


Friere's Main Points

  • Focus on communication between student and teacher going in both directions, not just memorization
  • Old-time teaching is based on narration; teacher fills students up with narration
  • Banking Concept dichotomizes: Teacher is subject; student is object. Teacher is active; student is passive.  Teacher has knowledge; student is ignorant.
  • When teacher owns material there often isn't enough connection between what is taught and the real world
  • When the teacher is active and students are passive, students don't really understand the material, they just memorize it.
  • When teachers are rated on how well their students memorize, they end up just passing on ignorance
  • The purpose of education is create a better society, a society where humans actively transform their society to make it better (make more humans subjects)
  • The purpose of education should not be to integrate those who are left out/ marginalized, but to chance society so that it includes them.
  • Eduacted man is the adaptive man.  One of the problems with teaching information is that reality changes all the time; reality is a process.
  • Education should teach the process of critical thinking, not facts
  • A human is someone who is a Subject not an Object; the process of humanization is making as many people Subjects as posssible.  Someone who makes others into Objects, is not fully human.
  • There is a parallel between learning and being conscious.  If you have learned to learn passively, you will also be only half conscious.
  • Meaning is only meaning when it is made with other people.
  • The world exists because humans are conscious of it.
  • The alternative to the banking concept of education is the problem-posing concept: creates critical thinkers, teachers pose the question instead of the ansewrs; teachers and students learn answer together


Friere's Key Terms

Banking concept of education= teachers own knowledge and deposit it in the student accounts.


Outline of Friere's Essay

1) Para 1-11

a)       1st Paragraph

i)         Defines problem w/education

ii)       “Narration sickness”

iii)      lack of own thought for students

iv)     lack of in class dynamic

b)       2nd

i)         Static

ii)       No relationship between material and the real world

iii)      Facts are simply facts, nothing more

c)       3rd

i)         Students don’t understand what they learn

d)       4th

i)         Students are bins of knowledge, they don’t understand the true meaning of what they are learning

ii)       Teachers are rated by how well they can get their students to memorize

e)       5th

i)         Description of the banking theory of education

ii)       Teachers do not communicate with teachers

iii)      Makes students less human

f)        6th

i)         In the banking method, teachers pass ignorance to the world down to their students

ii)       The comparison is made between students and slaves

iii)      The student should teach the instructor as well

g)       7th

i)         To “liberate” educational methods, teachers must accept the fact that they are assisting students in finding knowledge; not just shooting out facts

h)       8th

i)         The solution is not in the banking method.

ii)       We must start over to create a better educational system (10 reasons how)

i)         9th

i)         Someone educated in the banking system has accepted a passive role in society due to his lack of creative thought in the way he was taught

ii)       Banking method makes the world seem fragmented and static- it hinders creative ability

j)         10th

i)         It all fits- those in power don’t want to make those without power educated or creative- that way they don’t become unhappy and rebel against those in power (very orwell type of outlook)

k)       11th

i)         The dominants want to make subjects less human, without thought so they can marginalize them easier

ii)       Creates division in society- proletarian view of society

2) Para 12-21

a)       The solution not to “integrate” them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become “beings for themselves.”

b)       - The “humanisms” of the banking approach masks the effort to turn men into automatons—the very negation of their ontological vocation to be more fully human.

c)       They may perceive through their relations with reality that reality is really a process, undergoing constant transformation.

d)       For the role of student among students would be to undermine the power of oppression and serve the cause of liberation.

e)       Implicit in the banking concept is the assumption of a dichotomy between man and the world: man is merely in the world, not with the world or with others; man in spectator, not  re-creator.

f)        The educated man is the adapted man, because he is better “fit” for the world.

g)       One cannot impose oneself, nor even merely co-exist with one’s student.

h)       Solidarity requires true communication, and the concept by which such an educator is guided fears and proscribes communication.

i)         The teacher’s thinking is authenticated only by the authenticity of the students’ thinking.

j)         Authentic thinking, thinking that is concerned about reality, does not take place in ivory tower isolation, but only in communication.

3) Para 22-30

4) Para 31-37

a)       31. Banking Concept - Students should memorize information that the teacher delivers to them. They must accept what the teacher says as true.

b)       32.Problem-Posing - Students and teachers work together to become co-investigators of a problem the teacher remains open to students ideas to solve the problem while also having a sense of the correct answer.

c)       33. Relationship of the two ideas Banking brings about the submergence of conscious thought while Problem-posing leads to a more active consciousness.

d)       34. when students realize the value of there lessons and problems they will become more willing to commit themselves to the problem and to solving it.

e)       35. The world cannot exist without men to appreciate it. Without a consciousness of the world around them they do not fit into the world. (Kind of confused on this one)

f)        36. When mans view of reality increases then his perception of the smaller details becomes enhanced he becomes to notice the smaller details of life in greater and greater detail.

g)       37. When studying something you begin to notice the background on which it is placed. The background gains relevance to the overall feeling of the piece. These pieces do not have individual value but as a whole are relevant. Later on the background images begin to stand out and as we reflect upon them they become the focus of our considerations.

5) Para 38-48