The Banking Education Model

Paulo Freire introduced the concept: “Banking Education”. In this model, we perceive a kid as an empty vessel to be filled by the teacher.

Instead of communicating, the teacher issues communiques and makes deposits which the students patiently receive, memorize, and repeat. This is the “banking” concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits. [1]

Kinda sad, right? A very industrial model indeed. As if kids were part of a production process. Where the knowledge is introduced in exact fashion, one be one.

Paulo grew in poverty and that influenced his critical thinking of the education models. He devoted his life to push the education for those who needed it the most.

[the banking model] transforms students into receiving objects. It attempts to control thinking and action, leads men and women to adjust to the world, and inhibits their creative power. [2]

Freire believed education to be a political act that could not be divorced from pedagogy. Teachers and students must be made aware of the “politics” that surround education. The way students are taught and what they are taught serves a political agenda. As my friend Murilo said:

Education is the propagation of values.

For long as we have a “banking” mindset, our kids will be filled by the values of the present. Each generation will have different “must knows”, that at the time will feel essential. And, by intention or by emergence, these values will influence the society towards a static perspective.

Only when we are able to expand beyond the “banking” model we will be able to regard our kids as complex beings excited to grow. Each one of them with a unique perspective on the world. A perspective crafted from their own experience. Rooted in the present and ready to define and refine its own reality.

Thanks to my wise friend, Murilo Polese, for introducing me to Paulo Freire’s works.

  1. Freire, 1970, p. 77
  2. Freire, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, p. 58.

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