Education system is a prime determinant of the extent to which student will acknowledge and acquire new ideas. Effective learning is deeply embedded on the relationship between the teacher and students. It is through education that learners are impacted with the necessary information deemed imperative for effective and harmonious socialization. Functionality and the structure of the education system in many countries fall under criticism and analytical opinions of Paulo Freire, an educationist. His argument on the education system assumes two faces, “Banking Concept” and “Problem Posing” (Freire, 2010) that can be simply coined as a problem and a solution respectively.
In understanding his concepts, this paper presents an idealistic personal encounter disclosure of a scenario case of a mathematics teacher at 9th grade class. The teaching strategy of the teacher is evaluated from Freire’s perspective of the education system. According to Freire, “Banking Concept of education” abhors the students from active participation during the learning process, thus likening the students with “receptacle” whose purpose is to receive what is offered (Freire, 2010). In such a case, students have limited right for contributing to opinions and ideas being communicated. They are reduced to empty ignorant individuals who know nothing and only waiting to be filled with teacher’s “narration”.
Ms. Dorcas, my math teacher, was not of this kind. She believed in interaction during the teaching process and would evoke thinking through throwing tough question to students after an introduction to a topic. Just like Freire who believed in the power of “problem posing” in accelerating learning through evoking creativity, my teacher also was of the opinion that giving students information and expecting regurgitation of the same as answer for the problems was not enough. She used teasing methods and tactics to potentiate a fruitful contradictory dialogue that left the students with factual based answers rather than verbatim vomitus of her “fills”.According to Freire, “the teacher teaches while the students are taught” (Freire, 2010). This was also on the contrary to the pedagogy style of Ms. Dorcas, who always held remarkable respect to those students who challenged her ideologies and came up with new tactics in class. She always believed in the proverb that the end justifies the means rather that dogmatic approach in mathematic class. Using valid reputable methods to arrive at an answer was a principle she wholly embraced. This diversity and accommodative approach gained credit among the learners who became creative. This proved that in her class students were not to be served with ideals as though they were “hollow” tanks waiting to be filled. The students were made to acknowledge themselves as resourceful people seeking to top-up their ideas. In doing so, personally I was challenged to refrain to copying others ways of life, but instead be original, creative and innovative. She was eminently appreciative to learn from students and could voluntarily make errors during teaching to provoke attention and exchange of ideas between the teacher and the students.
Discipline wise, classroom norms were formulated and subjected to amendments by both sides; the teacher and her students. Discipline during class work was a collective responsibility, and punishment was always geared towards improving performance. Indiscipline persons were subjected challenging mathematics problems, which was so humorous and captivating. Therefore, Freire’s opinion “the teacher disciplines while the students are disciplined” (Freire, 2010) may not have held waters in our class.
Monologue was never welcomed in class. She always coded this as “a sole sex player” who tires and gets bored easily opening doors for infidelity due to dissatisfaction. The discussion between the teacher and the students enhance dissolution of ample obstacles that prevail in most learning environment. Dorcas believed that verbosity of concepts could not be used as a measure of learning. For her, understanding and application of the concepts constituted the best evaluation scheme of the leaning. Therefore, Freire would have been astonished to realize that “the teacher talks and students listen” was sternly renounced in Ms. Dorcas’ class. Learning was more of discussion making it interesting and free from boredom.
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One of Freire’s claims eminently evidenced in class was that “the teacher has the sovereignty of dictating the program’s content and the students had no option other than abiding and conforming to buy these choices”. However, on a closer analysis, this mandate is bestowed to the curriculum developers and the teacher has minimal deviating from these programs’ content. This does not translate to a claim that students have checked freedom in exploring areas, which have not been included in the contents, though crucial.
Furthermore, the teacher was never “the subject of the learning process” neither were the “students mere objects” as proposed by Freire (Freire, 2010). Through interjections and contributions of the students, which were warmly welcomed by the teacher, both parties were crucial and relied with each other. Therefore, claiming that students are mere objects in the learning process is derogatory in a setup where Ms. Dorcas is the teacher.
In conclusion, Freire’s perception and ideologies of “Banking Concept” regarding education system may have faced stiff challenges of justification in Ms Dorcas class. If he ever found a chance in Ms. Dorcas math class, he would have branded the teaching strategy employed as “Problem Posing” approach, which to him was the solution of the wicked education system. According to him, “Banking Concept” in education is highly embraced by those who welcome oppression, while “problem posing concept in education” prevails among the revolutionist minded personalities. Like math teacher, who envisaged revolutionist among her students.