Monday, October 22, 2012

A Better Way to Educate

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What is the goal of education? Are teachers really helping students to achieve this goal? The goal of education is to prepare students to be successful in life, and the job of teachers and educators is to lead the student and challenge him. Since teachers are leaders, they may use different methods to teach students; for example they use the banking concept method or the problem-posing method. Analyzing both methods, I realized that the banking concept is not such a good method because it doesn’t let the student analyze, the student feels oppressed and they develop a fear feeling against the teacher. Problem-posing is a better method because it allows the students to make their own decisions and it gives students freedom to express their creativity. Combining both, banking concept and problem-posing can lead to a better method so students can learn better, and so they can enjoy the process of education.

I studied my elementary school in a really strict catholic school, it was managed by nuns. They taught us applying the banking concept method. There were forty to fifty girls in each homeroom, and it was hard to deal with each one of the students, and they didn’t have the time to get to know each student better. They made us memorize long study guides and questionnaires. The only way to score good grades was memorizing those guides literally. Freire was right when he said “Narration (with the teacher as narrator) leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse yet, it turns them into ‘containers,’ into ‘receptacles’ to be filled by the teacher.” We didn’t analyze at all, we didn’t understand what we were memorizing. It was really hard because I would get nervous or anxious during my tests and since I memorize without understanding it was so easy to forget. It also happens that you just learn for a short period of time, because after a few weeks you forget everything.

The banking concept is a method where teachers know everything, and students don’t know anything at all. Freire made in his essay “The Banking Concept of Education” describes the characteristics of teachers and students in the banking concept, “the teacher teaches and the students are taught; the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing; the teacher thinks and the students are thought about; the teachers talks and the students listen�meekly; the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply.” (Page 61). Banking concept makes the teacher job easier, they job is to fill the student mind, and dominate them, they have power and students are weak.

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As I grew up, I and started high school, I realized that banking concept is not the better method to teach and definitely not the best method for students to learn. Memorizing with analyzing is not good, especially when you take classes that involve analysis and problem solving exercises. For example in my philosophy class the teacher made us give our opinions and analyze philosophers theories, he didn’t want us to learn textually what our book said, he wanted us to explain what we think, and relate those theories with the present, after all those years memorizing it was really hard. Philosophy is one of those classes that you need to memorize but also analyze, you need to memorize names, dates and theories, but you need to understand what you memorize.

Problem-posing in my opinion is a better method to teach and Freire prefers this method over banking concept, “Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon de world.” (Page 65). In this quote Freire expresses that the only way that people can become educated is to become thinkers, to really analyze what you read. The real purpose of reading and studying is not just for getting good grades, the purpose is to read and achieve knowledge.

I can still remember how I felt in elementary school, the classroom was so neat and quiet, we could only hear the loud voice of our teacher, and we never dare to interrupt them because we were afraid. The feeling of fear made us insecure. They made us feel inferior because they thought they knew everything and we didn’t .They were always right and we were always wrong; even once my social studies teacher yell at us and said “I’m wise, you are stupid”. We were oppressed, we didn’t have chance to develop our own ideas. We were dominated by our teachers. As a result of this method, we became lazy students. Freire said “The oppressed are regarded as the pathology of healthy society, which must therefore adjust these ‘incompetent and lazy’.” (Page 61). This is a true statement, because instead of researching and being curious, we adapt only to what the teacher said. We lacked in creativity and we lost our critical faculties.

In high school teachers were more opened minded, they were more understanding. Students had freedom to express themselves. As Freire explains, “ The students�no longer docile listeners�are now critical co-investigators in dialogue with the teacher. The teacher presents the material to the students for their consideration, and re-considers her earlier considerations as the students express their own. In high school teachers implement the problem-posing method, and this is a big change in the life of the student, they talk openly with the teachers and students lost that fear feeling, they don’t feel oppressed anymore.



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