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Narration Sickness

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Freire believes that “Education is suffering from narration sickness” (1). He believes that students are being filled with just words and not with significant content. He says, “narration leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse yet, it turns them into containers, into receptacles to be filled”(Freire 1). Narration education is to make the teacher better not to help the students learn. The more humble and open a student is the better the student they are. Freire feels that the banking concept of education is, “in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits” (1). Knowledge should be thought of as a gift for those who will embrace themselves as being knowledgeable. Education must begin by allowing the student/ teacher role to coincide with each other and allow them to learn from each other.

Banking education mirrors this contradiction of teacher being omnipotent and student being ignorant. Such examples of oppressing society are, “ the teacher teaches and the students are taught; the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing; the teacher talks and the students listen” (Freire2). This concept of education has always been around as long as I’ve been in school. In order for the teacher to prove herself as an educator the more content she has to fill the students with. It doesn’t matter if the students are actually learning and acknowledging the information but they are being presented it and tested on. As long as they repeat what was learned new content will keep being filed away. Freire believes that the “humanist, revolutionary educator cannot wait for this possibility to materialize…his efforts must coincide with those of the students to engage in critical thinking and the quest for mutual humanization” (4).

Man is being put into this world ignorant and oppressed without having any idea that the educators are regulating the education process. Those that are being educated have to adapt in society as a minority or known as the liberated. “The educated man is the adapted man, because he is better “fit” for the world” (Freire 4). Freire says, “Yet only through communication can human life hold meaning” (5). “The teacher cannot think for his students, nor can he impose his thought on them” (5). Communication should be the basis for all education. Teachers cannot just “fill’ students minds with information that is not being processed or else what is the point of educating in the first place. As a society we need to change the way education is being taught and let knowledge be a gift and something to be wanted.

Freire says, “The solution is not to “integrate” them into the structure of oppression, but to transform that structure so that they can become beings for themselves” (5). A fellow student of mine, Jacob Unger, best stated how we should perceive education. “A teacher can’t just talk “at” their students and expect them to understand, they have to talk “to” their students and communicate with them for them to actually learn”. Once the education process becomes less of a banking concept and more of willingness to lean process from both the teachers and the students man will continually be oppressed and be known as “receptacles”.


“The Banking Concept of Education,” from Pedagogy of the Oppressed by Paulo Freire. New York: Continuum, 1993.

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