Blog #5 9.27.15 Revised #1
This is the hardest assignment to date. We were to read Paulo Freire’s The "Banking Concept" of Education. This article was a tough read and I tried to interact with the text as I always do. I spent time looking up words, marking thoughts I found interesting, and researching who Paulo Freire was. He was an educator and philosopher who spent his life educating the poor and illiterate. After his father’s death his middle class family fell on hard times. At this point in his life he began to develop concerns for the poor. He understood the effect social condition had on the ability to learn. If you are starving and worried about a roof over your head that night, it is hard to comprehend anything further. At the time Brazil was under extreme dictatorship and the illiterate were unable to vote. His non-orthodox method of education was considered liberation theology. The problem-posing technique to education he created as I understand it to be, is more of showing the world and having people learn from it what they can vs. the Banking concept which is a teacher dumping knowledge in the students head like pennies in a piggy bank. The concept of problem posing education is assisting people to see the world as only then can, and challenge their thoughts of it. Utilization of a growth mindset goes hand in hand with Freire’s work. Constantly questioning the world and the entire universe for that fact, gaining that knowledge, and applying it to their daily lives. Social consideration must be taken in deliberation when thinking of education.
I was just explaining to my mother how tough of a read this article was and I was able to explain the Banking concept fluently. I believe Freire said it the best and I will quote him “Narration leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse yet, it turns them into containers into receptacles to be filled by the teacher. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.” In my margin this was marked as interesting because I see this being practiced with my 8 year old son. Memorization is key to multiplication and division was a statement his teacher made last week at open house. Is this truly the only way to have an 8 year old know how to do multiplication? Even for that fact was this something someone dumped into her receptacle or her own judgement of the easiest way to learn times tables? I think I have fell victim of being a banker. My daughter is now two. She can identify all the primary colors, as well as a multitude of shapes. The reason she can is because I bought flash card and showed them to her daily from age one on. Only after the revision of this piece did I realize that out on our walks, or at the grocery store, I rarely question if she knows these colors or shapes off of the white 4X6 card.
The problem-posing concept was a little more difficult to understand. Only after our classes work with mindsets do I feel more comfortable in this discussion. I know for the idea of problem posing to work in education one must start with a growth mindset. Freire was introducing this to adults in a country that was poverty stricken under extreme dictatorship. So does this concept only work with adults who already have an understanding of the world around them? Or, Can we utilize this method in our younger children to encourage critical thinking at a younger age or do they need a firm understanding of the basics. This intern leads me to a firm believing that I have had for years, of children only knowing what they are taught. As by that statement I mean by the world they live in. Their social standing, home life, and the adults that care for them attribute to shaping a young mind. For example, my nephew is almost 5 and says curses on a daily basis that have never come out of my grown up mouth. His mother started restricting Marvel and Ninja Turtles. I can guarantee that Iron Man never said “Stick that shit up your ass” or Donatello saying “you’re a pain in my ass fucker”. This is being taught to him by watching his world and turning it into his word. With Freire’s work he wanted to give the poor illiterate a chance to become something great. Disrupt the social setting in Brazil. Others try to keep you at the level of earning you are at so that their own pockets do not become thin. Or throw off the social order of things. I am personal proof of this. My family has never been wealthy, for that fact I have financially supported my mother more in my life then she did for me. This is because I choose not to follow the path many in family did. Drugs, alcohol, necessity for social belonging, and other evils created on this planet prevented more than half of my living relatives from raising their own children. I choose to educate myself. I spent more time in a library then at home. I love horror/sci-fi stories and would drown out my reality as I read them. Only recently have I begun to piece together thoughts of wanting more from the world around me. More education and not just on a grade level, but from the people I interact with. I find myself easily googling anything I crave to know more about. I think this was Freire’s thoughts with the problem-posing. Have individuals want to know more and learn to apply themselves in all aspects of life. However, I wonder how someone can critically think for themselves, even with a mentor to share knowledge with, if there is no firm knowledge of the basics. This reading alone created more questions than answers; I saw Freire’s position come to life in my head. Before I knew it Mr. Google and I were at it again and searching about this concept. So my mind wanted more then was assigned. I realized I was not a receptacle and completing an assignment solely on one article, written by one man, chosen by one professor. It felt good to crave more.