Sunday, October 23, 2011

Banking Concept of Education

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“The “Banking Concept” of Education” is Paulo Freire’s careful analysis of the teacher-student relationship through two entirely different types of education, the banking concept of education and problem posing education. Freire describes both the banking concept as well as the idea of problem posing education in terms of the teachers and not the students. He devotes most of his time to explaining the basics of the banking concept of education, and fails to give a concrete example of a student in the problem posing education. Friere fails to describe in full detail a student in problem posing education intentionally, because he wants us to determine ourselves what the ideal student is by using the basis for problem posing education, learning how to think as an individual. His goal is to make the reader creatively discover his point of view and understand his motives for his style of writing in the “Banking Concept of Education.”


Freire’s spends the great majority of his time in this essay describing the specific points in the banking concept of education. He provides many examples and explains thoroughly each and every aspect of the banking concept. Freire even includes the characteristics that are required in a student for success. The way students must be able to memorize, base everything off factual information and to be a receptacle of knowledge. He also includes the role of the teacher as a dictator and the idea that the students are educated like slaves in the Hegelian Dialectic. Students are taught to learn to accept their ignorance, as to justify the teacher. However, there is a serious lack of information on the problem posing style of education; he gives you bits and pieces of the puzzle but never really puts them all together. He spends so much of his time describing, in his mind, the fundamentally unconcerning banking concept of education, he never really gives a clear view of what his ideal form of education consists of. By creating such a vivid picture of the banking concept of education, Freire forces the reader to think creatively to see the other side of his argument. He is using the tactics of problem posing education to explain what the foundation of problem posing education is all about.


With Freire teaching the concepts of problem posing education through creative and independent thought, he is allowing the reader to experience some of the most important aspects of problem posing education. He is giving his audience a way to participate as they are reading and to take responsibility for the education of their ideas on problem posing education. By first presenting the readers with the banking concept of education Freire is introducing an idea of education that many are familiar with, and is giving them an idea that will soon be contradicted. By spelling out all the negatives in the banking concept of education, he is unnoticeably helping the readers realize all the positives in the problem posing style of education. “In order to be, it must become.”(page 57) If Freire was to spell out all the different aspects of problem posing education, he would be teaching you with the type of education he disagrees with most, the banking concept of education.


After reading Freire’s essay and understanding all of the pieces of the puzzle, I have put them together and come up with, what in my mind, represents Freire’s idea of problem posing education accurately.


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“Problem posing education affirms men and women as beings in the process of becoming�as unfinished, uncompleted beings in and with a likewise unfinished reality. Indeed, in contrast to other animals who are unfinished, but not historical, people know themselves to be unfinished; they are aware of their incompletion. In this incompletion and this awareness lie the very roots of education as an exclusively human manifestation. The unfinished character of human beings and the transformational character of reality necessitate that education be an ongoing activity.”(page 57)


It is a type of education based not only on learning but experiencing for oneself. A teacher’s purpose in a classroom would no longer be to lecture and fill the students with gobs of useless information, but to guide students through the learning process, and teach them how to apply their knowledge to real life. Teachers in problem posing education do not look down upon their students but instead appreciate the value of each and every student’s thoughts, opinions and encourage new ideas. Problem posing education also challenges students to think at new levels, independently and creatively.


“Students, as they are increasingly posed with problems relating to themselves in the world and with the world, will feel increasingly challenged and obliged to respond to that challenge. Because they apprehend the challenge as interrelated to other problem within a total context, not as a theoretical question, the resulting comprehension tends to be increasingly critical and thus constantly less alienated. There response to the challenge evokes new challenges, followed by new understandings; and gradually the students come to regard themselves as committed.”(page 55)


A good example with an environment that is involved with problem posing education is a kindergarten class. The teacher values each one of his/her student’s ideas and opinions and is not afraid to learn something from them. All the students in the classroom work individually as well as in groups, and are encouraged constantly by their teachers to be creative, whether it be through figure painting or story telling. Teachers in this classroom setting often reward their students, with a gold star, for new experiences and over coming challenges. It gives students a reason to stay focused and a reason to conquer new obstacles.


Freire’s definition of a student in problem posing education is left for the reader to decide. Throughout the essay he gives the reader all the ingredients they need to create his ideal student but he just doesn’t let the reader know they have them it until they fully understand his problem posing style of education. After the reader understands his form of education, it’s easy to develop Freire’s ideal student. The perfect student in problem posing education would be someone who participated on a regular basis, and interacted with the teacher as well as the other students. He/She would also have to be very motivated by experiences, and willing to share information in the learning environment. Another trait of a problem posing education student is being creative and having his/her own point of view, but at the same time remaining open-minded to see others thought and ideas. A good example of a student in problem posing education is what we call a Teacher’s Assistant or TA. A TA is required to learn information from the teacher and then relay it to the other students in smaller groups or discussion sections. The TA asks open-ended questions that help motivate the other students to think creatively, or vica versa. The TA and the other students are challenged to think creatively and open-mindedly, and to know and understand the others ideas.


Paulo Freire’s, “the Banking Concept of Education” is a uniquely written essay that requires an understanding for Freire’s writing style and understanding of the two very different teacher-student relationships, in the banking concept of education and problem posing education. Freire purposely lacks details about the idea of problem posing education so his readers can think creatively, and experience through his essay what learning and education are really all about. He neglects to give the reader a substantial definition for in a student in problem posing education because he wants the reader to discover for himself or herself, through problem posing education, what his ideal student is. Throughout the essay, Freire gives his reader’s all the pieces of the puzzle, through examples, quotes, and contradictions hoping that his readers could think creatively enough to put his whole puzzle together.





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