There is at least one time in everyone’s life in which they are able to reflect upon something in their past which oftentimes can prove to be helpful in the present of the future. In this case, I was asked to reflect upon a time where the banking concept of education had been used in my life. The case which I will be evaluating here is one of a class entitled “Chemistry 4: Introduction to Laboratory Safety and Hazardous Materials.” The purpose of this class is to inform students of proper procedures for the laboratory and the handling of the substances which are used and found in laboratories. In this course, which is a course required for all University of Missouri Rolla students who plan on taking a chemistry laboratory class, the teaching method is strictly that of the banking system. According to Freire, the teacher/professor essentially lectures the entire class period. The banking method of educating people is not totally wrong for everyone, or else it would not have survived as long as it has in school systems all over the world. Some people are actually capable of learning extremely well from the banking system, while others may not come through with the same results. During the course of one session of Chemistry 4, whish lasted approximately two and a half to three hours, the professor lectured for virtually the entire class period, only giving a break when assembling the video player which he would use later on in class. Throughout the lecture time, the professor talked almost nonstop. The information which he administered to the class was being given at a fast rate. Oftentimes it was difficult to fully absorb all of the critical information needed in order to be successful in the class. However, some students may have fared better from the conformist style of education which the banking system, more often than not, tends to offer. There were no questions asked during the time of lecture, and there was virtually no time in which it was convenient and acceptable to converse, interact, and discuss items with the other people of the class. Also, a student’s progress was virtually undeterminable because the only graded work was the two tests. All of the other activities, which we did in class, such as worksheets (which were study guides for the tests) were never even glanced at by the professor. There was a short period after class in which the we could address the professor with questions, but this period was rather small and insignificant in comparison to the size of the class and the amount of lecturing which had occurred. There is no possible way that two hundred and fifty students can ask a professor questions in a ten to twenty minute time frame and receive a high quality answer to their problem. Basically, it was up to we, the students to have the initiative to research the question on her own with her own resources, which in this case would be her handbook and various pamphlets. Even though there was almost no student-to-teacher or teacher-to-student contact, both the students and the teacher played vital role in the education process in the Chemistry 4 class at hand. The professor was an excellent professor and knew all of his material extremely thoroughly, and could easily bring the information down to a level in which all of us (the students) could easily understand it with little or no difficulty. He was also very precise and organized in his presentation of the information, and did not skip from one topic to another without a proper segue which also enabled us to better understand the lecture. In the case of Chemistry 4, the professor was the banker, or person who had large amounts of information which needed to be passed on to the students. He used the banking concept in order to increase the information transfer rate. The students also played a vital role in the Chemistry 4 class. We (the students) were the ones who were supposed to be absorbing the given information and using it later both on the tests, and further on in the laboratory. It was the job of the student in this banking concept class to absorb as much of the information being hurled toward them as humanly possible, remember it, and then use it again later, even though they were never really informed as to how to utilize it. There was never a time in class where we could openly and conveniently ask the professor questions during the lectures. We were required to ask him at a later time, such as after the lecture and class were finished. In this case, the students were the receptacles to which all the information the banker (professor) was depositing information into for future use, such as in a depository. Although there are many downfalls to the banking concept of education, there are also a few strong points which should be highlighted. First of all, the rate at which information is transferred from on person to another is extremely high. A very large amount of information can be transferred using the banking concept due to its dictating nature. The banking concept is also easier for the teacher because the do not have to worry about answering questions, or discussions getting out of hand, or students not comprehending all of the needed information, because they just keep on lecturing, which relieves a great deal of stress for the teacher. Also, the teacher is less likely to get off track when using the banking concept of educating as opposed to the problem posing concept. They do not have to worry about students–whether on purpose or by accident–derailing the teacher’s train of thought and spending time on worthless subjects which do not relater to the present class. The banking concept is a more efficient, mechanical, and precise form of education than the problem posing form of education. As with anything, the banking concept also has its flaws. For instance, the constant lecturing of a professor/teacher can become very monotonous, and perhaps even boring, which can retract from the learning of the needed information. Lectures also tend to move along rather quickly, which can pose a problem with all students being able to keep up with the rapid pace of the lecturer. Furthermore, the banking concept is not user friendly, because it forces all students to conform to one standard and one style of learning, regardless of whether or not it is an effective style of learning for every student. In fact, many students can feel rather alienated by the whole depersonalization of the banking concept of education. There is also little opportunity for interaction between students and the teacher, teacher and the students, and students with students. The banking concept is a very individualized method of learning, where a person is responsible for their own learning, and whether or not why are able to remember and process the information is solely up to them. Whereas, the problem posing form of education was designed with the student in mind and allows them to interact with other students, as well as the teacher. In the long run, the problem posing form could prove to be more effective, because it helps students to grow not only educationally, but also as people who are capable of interacting and learning from other people. The problem posing form is closer to the reality of the ‘real world’ than the banking concept because it allows people to interact among each other, just like in life. It helps them to work out problems and learn from people all at the same time instead of dampening their people skills, such as is done in the banking concept of education. Although it is not the solution to every classroom situation, the banking concept of education is not the worst system either. It helps people’s minds to develop on their own and to be able to personally apply and use given information in a useful way. Not everyone is capable of effectively learning all information by means of the banking concept, but it is by far not the most ineffective way. Many people learn best from the banking system, and oftentimes it cannot be avoided, such as in the Chemistry 4 class which I took. There was virtually no other way in which the class could have been effectively or efficiently operated. All of the information for the class was basic factual information, such as “it is unsafe to run in a laboratory.” There is no way to really discuss something as factual as that. So, in the case of Chemistry 4, and the many other similar classes, there is no other way than the banking concept in which to effectively transfer the information from the banker (teacher) to the receptacles (students) in the short class time which has been allotted. In the end, there is no way to eliminate the banking concept of education without also eliminating education all together.
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