Paulo Freire's “problem-posing” instructional method in his essay “The ‘Banking' Concept of Education” is an essential educational technique. Freire's proposed approach to education not only calls for change in educational practices, it also holds greater sociopolitical implications. The anticipated result of Freire's educational concept is the empowerment of the minority class through reality-based instruction. And Freire's problem-posing concept is ultimately crucial for oppressed classes to achieve “their ontological vocation to be more fully human” (Freire, 76).
[...] dreams have compounded a tempestuous passion? (Niebuhr, 157) In order for questions such as these to be regarded seriously and in turn for the minority classes to “become more fully human,” educational practices must focus on students, and education must pose such problems to students as social power discrepancies, social injustice, and the reasons behind these realities. Freire in his writing poses similar problems. Take, for instance, the [...]
[...] The sociopolitical implications of Freire's essay are exemplified in Niebuhr's book Moral Man and Immoral Society. In his chapter titled Ethical Attitudes of Privileged Classes,” Niebuhr argues that, historically, the minds of the disadvantaged class have always been gathered and governed by the privileged: “Since education is to this day both a tool of propaganda in the hands of the dominant groups, and a means of emancipation for subject classes, it is easy to understand both the hopes and the fears of the privileged classes when they first began to yield the privilege of education” (Niebuhr, 122). [...]
[...] However, such open-mindedness is inherently prohibited in banking education, and in the quotation which follows Niebuhr asserts the adaptability of even the educated to unethical values: The human mind is so weak an instrument, and is so easily enslaved and prostituted by human passions, that one is never certain to what degree the fears of the privileged classes, of anarchy and revolution, are honest fears, which may be explained in terms of their imperfect perspective upon social facts; and to what degree they are dishonest attempts to put the advancing classes at a disadvantage. (Niebuhr, 136) Niebuhr in the above quotation—and like Freire—again describes how disadvantaged humans are molded into manageable creatures by the privileged authority; when students (and humans in general) are educated with the banking method they become more adapted and better for the world (Freire, 76) rather than more independent minded. [...]
[...] A decisive moment in the proliferation of the banking style of education came with the emergence of television in America in the mid-twentieth century. The emergence of television, as the editors of the anthology A Companion to American Thought note, undermined Niebuhr's intellectual oratory style, a style similar to Freire's problem-posing rhetorical style (Wightman Fox & Kloppenberg, 496). Television's affect on undermining problem-posing discussion and arguement is remarkable. Television is perhaps the most subjective form of communication; it is so subjective that reciprocal communication is truly prohibited and is replaced by depositions made into the viewer. [...]
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