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The Ironies Of Education

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In the "Banking Concept of Education," Paolo Freire states that the present system of education oppresses man because it stifles his ability to think creatively, thereby resulting in his not being able to affirm his very existence. Therefore, the author argues that the "problem-posing" method of teaching is the only way to reverse the negative effects of the "banking" process, because it liberates men from oppression by enabling them to become "beings for themselves" (Freire 60). However, Freire then contradicts himself and invalidates his contentions about the importance of "problem posing," when he states that if man is left in his natural state, without education, he possesses those same characteristics found in the learned ones.
According to Paolo Freire, oppression is ultimately the result of an educational system which lacks substance, and does not challenge its students. In this piece, Freire states that the "banking" concept of education suppresses the cognitive abilities of students and tends to dehumanize them. Moreover, the system teaches students to be passive, mechanical objects instead of teaching them to recognize and acknowledge their own existence. When this occurs, Freire believes that the students become prime targets for oppressors. The system presents oppressors with a "profitable situation" for exploitation because the "banking" concept turns its students into ignorant, powerless beings who simply adapt to the world as they have been trained to do. Hence this become an advantageous situation for oppressors "whose tranquillity rests on how well men [and women] fit the world the oppressors have created and little they question it" (Freire 63). Therefore, the author argues that a well-defined education, based on the concept of "problem posing" is the only way women and men can become truly liberated from oppression for it "affirms men [and women] as beings who transcends themselves" (Freire 72).
Throughout his piece, Freire asserts that the present method of education teaches students to become submissive, receptive objects. He argues that instead of challenging students, the "banking" concept actually turns them into "containers. . . to be filled by teachers" (Freire 58). Freire sees this to be particularly alarming because by teaching students to be apathetic, instead of actively challenging their intellectual faculties, schools make them incapable of acknowledging their very existence. As a result, the students tend to have a "fatalistic" view of the world, and simply "adapt. . . to the fragmented view of reality deposited in them" (Freire 60).
Instead of adapting, Freire states that "those truly committed to liberation must. . . abandon the educational goal of deposit making and replace it with the posing of problems of men in their relations with the world" (Freire 66). Freire sees "problem posing" as being the cure for the problems with "banking" style of teaching. In his opinion, this method liberates students from oppression for "whereas banking education anesthetizes and ...

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Keywords: irony of school

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