Paulo Freire

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What is Friere's main argument in these paragraphs?

The truth is, however, that the opressed are not "marginals" are not people living "outside" society. They have always been "inside" inside the structure which made them "beings for others". The solution is not to "integrate" them into the structure of opression, but to transform that structure so that they can become "beings for themselves". Such as transformation of the banking concept of education to avoid the threat of student conscientizao.

The banking approach to adult education, for example, will never propose to students that they critically consider reality. it will deal instead with such vital questions as whether Roger gave green grass to the goat, and insist upon the importance of learning that, on contrary. Roger gave green gass to the rabbit. The "humanism" of the banking approachmaks the effort to turn women and men into automatons-they very negatio of ther ontological vocation to be more fully human.

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In this section Freire is outlining a view of education that is not "banking", but rather, one where the focus is on student learning and critical thinking. He says that this kind of education should be about students' "ontological vocation to be more fully human."

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Paulo Freire worked as an educator among Brazil's poorest population. Over time, American educators became aware of his work and his philosophy and imported it here, so you will often find references to his work in articles and books that are critical of the American public education system and its...

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factory-like approach. To treat students as cogs in some giant wheel that churns ever more and more toward automation and standardization is to dehumanize students. That is what Freire is getting at in the first paragraph.

"Knowledge is Power" is a maxim that educators love to trot out, but Freire would argue that if we keep filling students up with the same old rote knowledge, the power structure of society will not change one bit. Middle and working class students will be educated to uncritically assume their parents' same roles in society, and so the power structure will remain in place. Freire's idea of a "banking method" prevalent in education is quite a literal one: he sees how in too many schools students are just viewed as empty banks for the all wise teachers to fill up with knowledge.

Again, it is not knowledge that can transform their lives, but instead knowledge that is simply routine to learn—times tables, the order of presidents, literary devices. There is no critical thinking here, and critical thinking was paramount to Freire. He thought critically about educational deficiencies and he wanted his students to think critically about the educational system, and society at large, that they were currently in. Also in the banking method there is no dialogue. Knowledge moves one way in a classroom based on the banking method—from teacher to student. Freire wanted to reconceptualize education so that student knowledge is valued and shared.

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This is a selection from Paulo Friere’s “The Banking Concept of Education.”  To understand, first consider that Friere is a critical pedagogist.  Basically, critically pedagogy is the concept that underprivileged classes can only rise up through equal opportunities in education.  A big part of this is understanding that there is no deficit in the people or children of the underprivileged classes.  They simply don’t have the cultural capital (cultural information and understanding) to compete with middle and upper class children.  The system is against them at every turn.  This is what Friere means when he says that the oppressed are not marginals.  Friere was especially interested in educating working class adults.

Basically, the first paragraph emphasizes how the current system puts these people at a disadvantage.  Instead of trying to make them fit into the current system, he is arguing that the system should fit around them.  The second paragraph emphasizes how far out of touch much of the educational system is with practicality and reality.  There is also the cultural capital issue there.  The grass example emphasizes how you need a middle class background to make sense of or benefit from this type of education.  A practical education is more helpful.

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