In Chapter 3, Freire focuses on “the word” as the foundation of all dialogue. The word and dialogue, as Freire articulates it, are essential elements of his problem-posing education. The word and dialogue also directly oppose the banking system of education. The banking education model, according to Freire, works to maintain systems of imperialism and oppression. The banking system does not encourage critical thinking and empowerment. Therefore, the banking system of education is an effective expression of power for keeping marginalized and impoverished groups, marginalized, impoverished, and incapable of challenging the systems that are oppressing them.
In Chapter 2 (not part of the required reading), Freire outlines the banking concept of education as possessing the following aspects:
1) the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
2) the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
3) the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
4) the teacher talks and the students listen—meekly;
5) the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
6) the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
7) the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
8) the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;
9) the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his or her own professional authority, which she and he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
10) the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects.
Can you see how the banking concept of education mirrors Tuhiwai Smith’s discussion of colonial education? The students are passive recipients of the teacher’s knowledge of which there is only one way to learn. The students are not consulted about what they are learning or how they will learn it. Any questioning or “non-compliance” on the part of the student may result in discipline from the teacher. For Freire, the banking concept of education reflected systems of oppression in the larger world. Banking education created compliant, self-disciplining subjects unable to think critically about their circumstances, and were, therefore, “educated” or, rather, trained to continue to maintain systems of oppression without question.