“The more students work at storing deposits entrusted to them, the less they develop the critical consciousness which would result from their intervention in the world as transformers of that world.” (Freire, p. 2)
This week in “Leadership and Advocacy,” we start exploring the thoughts of Paulo Freire in “Pedagogy of the Oppressed.” Freire discusses the “banking concept of education.” He states that students in this system are “receptacles” that are being “filled” with the “content of the teachers narration”. (Freire, p. 1) While pondering the “banking system,” images of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s character in the 1990 film, “Total Recall” enters my mind. In this film, Schwarzenegger’s character is having disturbing dreams so he visits a company, “Rekall,” which implants memory chips within their clients to create a desired experience. Freire’s “banking” concept is not too different from Schwarzenegger’s experience. In “Total Recall,” the individuals in control did not want him to remember but wanted him to recall what they felt was desired and valued as important – which would keep him safe making him a “receptacle.” Freire explains that “receptacles” are expected to regurgitate information provided by the teacher (aka the authority) to the students (aka the oppressed). But just like Schwarzenegger, the students should fight to be free and freedom cannot be obtained alone. To escape the system, students must transform in order to become liberated. Freire suggests that no one liberates anyone else and no one becomes liberated alone; however, people liberate themselves in fellowship with each other. In essence, teachers and students should strive to become partners in learning and critical thinking and break free of the chains that “banking” goals create.
I agree with Freire in that education should seek to encourage critical thinking and not recall. Recall either recreates or directly builds upon the past. While critical thinking creates a new, unknown, path for the future.
As a leader seeking to change the condition of many individuals who have been repeatedly oppressed and labeled the “marginalized,” new paths are needed as old paths are not sufficient. To reach these new paths, I must transform and I need your help because one cannot do it alone.