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My Stab on the Philosophy of Education

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Education Philosophy: A Mix Between Banking and Problem-Posing Methods Since the beginning of our political system we have had questions about education. Education, being the most preparatory step to future politicians and professionals, has been both fought over and wished upon, for the past 3 centuries. What makes education such a controversial topic is that it is a question of trying to teach thousands of students, with different learning styles how to learn in a less than individualized way. Though I recognize that education is more likely than not a never ending battle; I believe it should be a cooperation and respect filled experience between the student and the instructor, yet with awareness of superior knowledge from the professor/teacher, coming from lectures, discussions or arguments. My philosophy in education hinges on the need for teachers who are not only knowledgeable but have the ability to communicate and deliberate.

If the teachers feel inferior, then they won’t bring up thoughtful discussion and engage the class. The knowledge of the teacher does create a dichotomy between the student and them self, because without superiority there is no credibility. There would be no reason for a student to listen to a teacher that they didn’t feel had sufficient knowledge of the material at hand. Friere’s philosophy doesn’t give enough credit to the quality of the teacher. He is so caught up in the problem-posing method that he forgets the best kind of teachers not only spark intelligent communication, but have a vast knowledge for the subject. Just like any profession, the teacher should have a passion for the content he is responsible for. Friere states, “Authentic thinking, thinking that is concerned about reality, does not take place in ivory tower isolation, but only in communication.” The character of the teacher will determine the flow of the class.

A vital character trait in my philosophy of education is this idea of the passion of the instructor for the topic they are teaching. Passion is contagious. Passion not only draws the best out of the students but the best out of the teacher. True classroom communication and discussion is rooted in this feeling of powerful emotion towards education. A teachers passion for their subject can do nothing but help their students as long as it’s not the only thing being relied upon by the instructor. As a student, if a teacher shows to us that they aren’t superior in their subject matter, and everyone else in the class won’t trust them. For example, I had a student-teacher for a semester in an upper-level math class. On day one it was evident that she had little knowledge of the subject matter. She would get problems wrong during lecture and students would have to help her solve equations. On top of her math inefficiency she had no self confidence in her teaching abilities, and it showed. We—the students—didn’t see her as a teacher, she was more of a nuisance. There was no desire to learn and the frustration of poorly taught material lowered classroom morale.

In contrast, I had an AP Government teacher who was highly passionate in politics. He was enthused with the subject he taught and very knowledgeable about it. His enthusiasm was electric and it lifted everyone in the room. He breathed life into the mundane world of US politics and made every person want to learn more. It’s this type of teacher that the world of education needs. Students respond positively to an instructor who knows and cares about their slice of the intellectual pie. The two teaching methods explained by Friere were the banking and problem-posing. These two views on teaching are both polar opposites. The banking method in itself is too exclusive. It lacks Colombo’s idea of being a critical thinker. This method dumps information in the mind of it’s students without giving the learner a proper opportunity to shape and probe the knowledge. On the opposite side, the problem-posing method lacks the foundation of learning. It’s good to discuss and communicate in the process of learning, but you need foundational knowledge to be able to have this skill.

The banking method gives the learner knowledge on subject matter so they can then probe at it and pose questions. Once the learner is able—after being taught through the banking method to dissect and interpret the information presented to him, he allows what may at first seem like inorganic information, to be full of life and meaning. The essence of true knowledge falls somewhere in between both methods presented by Friere. By experiencing both of these learning styles a student is able to personify the idea of critical thinking. Critical thinking is what brings true knowledge to a person. The point of education is to learn and apply. Knowledge left in the brain is questionably intellect at all, unless it is used in real life. Application of knowledge cannot fully be achieved until the true understanding of the subject matter is had. Both learning methods work on their own but are not successful. Meaning that knowledge itself is not the goal, it takes maximum potential in knowledge for success.

My philosophy on education shows respect for the teacher and the student. Their cooperative relationship is vital in the nesting of knowledge. A teachers superior intellect of a subject matter should shine through to the students, just as much as their passion for teaching infiltrates their spirits to learn more. Once a student is taught a subject, they then have the ability to dig deeper into it. The student is able to now communicate and discuss with other teachers and students about the intelligence he has learned. This communication is the foundation of the student being a critical thinker. A critical thinker can use their knowledge to it’s fullest in the world we live in today.

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