THEORY

Critique of banking model

Critical pedagogy critiques the dominant paradigm. Put simply, the dominant paradigm could be described as a banking model of education. In this model, the teacher is the expert and learner is the recipient of knowledge. Thinking along the lines of a banking metaphor, the learner is a passive recipient of deposits of knowledge.

Thus the banking model reproduces existing knowledge, and maintains the status quo of social hierarchies and existing power relations (think back to the privilege exercise in  Activity 1, which highlights the concepts of social hierarchies and power relations). The banking model maintains the status quo because those in lower positions of power (learners) are not granted the explicit opportunity to generate or share knowledge. In the banking model, those in higher positions of power (curriculum developers, educators) control what is taught.

While the banking model may be an over-simplification, its description does tend to resonate with people who have experienced traditional or dominant (e.g. behaviourist schools of thought about education). Therefore, it offers a helpful starting point from which to offer alternatives. Freire based his rationale for a critical pedagogy on a critique of the banking model of education.

To cite this work: Ng S, Baker L, Friesen F. Teaching For Transformation. An Online Supplement. [Internet]. 2018. Available from www.teachingfortransformation.com

Centre for Faculty Development, University of Toronto at St. Michael's Hospital.