Oppression and Individualism
The banking concept, as described by Paulo Friere, addresses the importance of a healthy relationship between instructors and their students. According to this principle, such a relationship triumphs over oppression in the education context. Paulo criticizes the mode of instilling knowledge where the students comply with everything taught by the instructor without understanding its relevance to the real world (Freire 23). In relation to my experiences through out my school stages, I can concur with this principle. In my elementary level of education, gaining knowledge was more of a formality than a necessity. I listened to my teachers with an aim of acquiring knowledge in order to pass my exams and move on to the next grade. I saw no relevance of what I learnt to the outside world.
I remember cramming the multiplication tables without any understanding on how it would aid me in my daily life. To me, the teachings from the tutors were the gospel truth and needed no evaluation. It is sad but correct to say that I left the premises of those classrooms full of information that made no sense to me. For instance, I was aware of the different states in America but had no idea of their significance to the whole nation. Moreover, I did not comprehend how all the mathematical calculations would assist me in the outside world. In addition, I viewed my teachers as superior beings whose reasoning and decisions were final and correct.
These experiences recurred in my secondary level of education. Although I was old enough to make solid decisions on my own, I did not pause to think of the significance of the knowledge acquired from my instructors to my present and future. For example, I correctly calculated sums dealing with hypothetical accounts of companies but did not take time to interpret the significance of such knowledge in managing my future financial records. Additionally, I did not have an interactive relationship with my tutors. I saw them as ladders to take me to the next level of education as opposed to important people in the development of my brain capacity.
I blame the lack of preparedness for my future academic and professional life on certain aspects of the academic system that I went through. Firstly, my levels of learning exhibited adultism in several occasions. I first experienced this kind of oppression in elementary school. Like other students in my school, I felt fear towards my tutors as substitution for respect. Moreover, I adopted a belief that all my actions and thoughts had to concur with the teachers’ points of view. This made me view my opinions as irrelevant in comparison with those of the instructors. As such, I stuffed my brain with everything conveyed by the teachers without any evaluation. This depressed my courage to interact with them both in and out of class. As a result, I ended up cramming useful information without understanding it hence affecting my preparedness for the outside life.
Likewise, I think sexism has a role to play in my lack of preparedness for my future academic and professional life. From my society, I adopted certain stereotypes that influenced my way of thinking both in and out of class. For example, I believed that boys perform well in science and technical subjects while girls should specialize in languages. The enforcement of this mentality reached its peak in elementary school upon realization that all the science instructors were males. Consequently, I subconsciously neglected all science and technical subjects due to this sexist attitude. Moreover, I did not see the importance of sports in the outside world. I relate this to the fact that our school management put more weight on ‘male sports’. For example, professional trainers were involved in guiding rugby players. In contrast, many considered netball as female game and its participants hardly played in interschool competitions for lack of proper training and equipment.
Various strategies can help in curbing sexism and adultism in school systems in an effort to improve the students’ awareness of the outside world. In the case of sexism, it is crucial for the school management sector to balance the number of female and male instructors in the system. Moreover, some professional female teachers should teach science and technical subjects with male tutors instructing language topics .This will help depress the stereotype that a specific gender can only do well in certain subjects (Freire 45). Likewise, sport activities should not be differentiated based on gender but rather on one’s skills in the game. All games should be valued in order to provide opportunities for talented students (Freire 47).
Adultism in learning institutions is also an issue that needs addressing. Students and tutors should have an interactive relationship. This will substitute the fear in students regarding their teachers with respect (Freire 67). Additionally, students will find it easy to exchange ideas and ask questions in class concerning academic and real life aspects. There is need for the learners to view their instructors as people whose main aim is to prepare them with skills relevant to the outside world as opposed to filling their heads with inappropriate facts. This is crucial in upgrading the brain capacity of students (Freire 80).
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.