Pedagogy of the Oppressed

by

Paulo Freire

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Banking Symbol Icon

Freire uses the symbol of the bank to explain how a traditional, oppressive pedagogy works. In this traditional model, which Freire calls the “banking model” of education, knowledge functions as a kind of social currency that teachers possess and students do not. The job of the teacher is to “deposit” that knowledge into the consciousnesses of the students, whose job is then “receiving, filing, and storing the deposits.” Just as people deposit and withdraw their money at a bank, the teacher asks students to store and recall information that the teacher considers important. This image of “banking” also has a greater significance in the context of Freire’s Marxist tradition: banks are prominent institutions of modern capitalism, a system that Freire sees as oppressive. As Freire argues that the end of the “banking model” will lead to liberation, he references other parts of society that will also have to change in the process.

Banking Quotes in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The Pedagogy of the Oppressed quotes below all refer to the symbol of Banking. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bloomsbury edition of Pedagogy of the Oppressed published in 2000.
Preface Quotes

Thought and study alone did not produce Pedagogy of the Oppressed; it is rooted in concrete situations and describes the reactions of laborers (peasant or urban) and of middle-class persons whom I have observed directly or indirectly during the course of my educative work.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker)
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 37
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

For apart from inquiry, apart from the praxis, individuals cannot be truly human. Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the world, with the world, and with each other.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker)
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 72
Explanation and Analysis:

Indeed, the interests of the oppressors lie in “changing the consciousness of the oppressed, not the situation which oppresses them”; for the more the oppressed can be led to adapt to that situation, the more easily they can be dominated.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker), The Oppressor, The Oppressed
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 74
Explanation and Analysis:

Implicit in the banking concept is the assumption of a dichotomy between human beings and the world: a person is merely in the world, not with the world or with others…In this view, the person is not a conscious being (corpo consciente); he or she is rather the possessor of a consciousness: an empty “mind” passively open to the reception of deposits of reality from the world outside.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker)
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

Those truly committed to liberation must reject the banking concept in its entirety, adopting instead a concept of women and men as conscious beings, and consciousness as consciousness intent upon the world. They must abandon the educational goal of deposit-making and replace it with the posing of the problems of human beings in their relations with the world.

Related Characters: Paulo Freire (speaker)
Related Symbols: Banking
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
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Banking Symbol Timeline in Pedagogy of the Oppressed

The timeline below shows where the symbol Banking appears in Pedagogy of the Oppressed. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 2
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...students memorize these facts without understanding their full meaning or context. Freire calls this the “banking” model of education, one in which teachers “deposit” knowledge into the minds of their students.... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...for Freire, is the result of a constant process of questioning the world. However, the “banking” model conceives of knowledge as something that teachers have and students lack. This approach is... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
The “banking” model molds the attitudes of students: it teaches them to adapt to the world as... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Teachers who use the “banking” model—whether they are aware of it or not—do not understand that the model reinforces oppression.... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
The methods teachers use in the “banking” model create distance between them and their students. In contrast, Freire argues for authentic communication... (full context)
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
Dialectics Theme Icon
In stark contrast to “banking,” a “problem-posing” pedagogy is based on communication and dialogue, and it fosters human freedom. It... (full context)
Freedom and Oppression Theme Icon
Education Theme Icon
...is also an ongoing process, a big difference from the lack of change in the “banking” model. “Problem-posing” is “revolutionary futurity,” according to Freire, because it relies on the hope that... (full context)
Chapter 3
Education Theme Icon
Maintaining and Overthrowing Oppression Theme Icon
...students (or “student-teachers”) want to know about, and engage with what they know already. The “banking” model seeks to change people, but “problem-posing” seeks to change the world with people: in... (full context)