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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.