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According to a 2012 study by established economists, replacing a poor teacher with an average one would raise a single classroom’s lifetime earnings by about $266,000. Multiply that by a career’s worth of classrooms which could mean a lot more profit in students’ pockets. With that being said teachers play an undeniably important role in educating the future minds of tomorrow. Plato’s The Republic and Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed were both stories based around teaching techniques that our class had the pleasure of dissecting as a class in the last couple of weeks. In blatant terms, these two stories are moderately different but share an underlying similarity of challenging tradition even though they were written hundreds of years apart. Plato’s The Republic’s main point is how defining justice and having 3 social classes can help balance his idea of a perfect world. Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed conveys a message to all of us that students have a “fear of freedom” and he also introduces two models that teachers should evaluate before they corrupt future students.
Looking back at my childhood I see a lot of flashbacks of getting spoon-fed information like Freire’s mentioning of the banking method. His method describes a type of education where the teacher deposits facts into the student’s head. Freire mentions, “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”. This type of method that my classmates and I have endured throughout for our educational careers forces students to adapt to an oppressive world instead of a critical one. In my preschool days, I feel that the teachers took the right approach, which would be getting the students involved with interactive activities and games that force positive engagement. As the typical grade school system plays out the interactive games and activities fade away.
The interesting/aggravating part about these readings each week is how everything is up in the air. There usually isn’t a right or wrong answer or a perfect way in this case to teach our youth of the future. Regarding Plato, he tries to map out the best possible world that has a system of producers, auxiliaries, and guardians. Plato mentions, “The result, then, is that more plentiful and better-quality goods are more easily produced if each person does one thing for which he is naturally suited, does it at the right time, and is released from having to do any of the others”. This system means that every citizen within this community would have to know their role. So, the producers must worry about what nature offers them, the auxiliaries must uphold the ruler’s conviction, and as always, the rulers must do their ruling. When I first read this part of The Republic my mind first went to a basketball organization where you have the players who must listen to the coach’s teachings and then the owners oversee the day-to-day operations of the team.
Plato also mentions these classes for souls that people have. The first is having a rational part of the soul that looks for truths and the other two are spiritual and another that seeking money. These souls that he describes take me back to my preschool days at Sacred Heart were all we learned was to pray. Looking back on those times I can see the religious cycle that I was in. Which is completely different from the middle school and high school days of teachers reading off PowerPoints for fifty minutes straight. I also think the cave that Plato describes with the white lie coming from the puppeteers confused the people in the cave who only know what’s underground.
After comparing both stories to my childhood, I think it’s fair to say that the banking method has been used 90% of the time in our educational career. As much as I would love to say that the banking method is the only right way I can’t. Freire’s problem-posing method should be used continuously and not left behind after elementary school. I feel that Temple students would benefit from that as well and have a deeper understanding of the knowledge our professors are conveying. Our IH II class is built and practiced around the problem-posing method. There is no huge divide from teacher to student because we all are interested in what each other has to say. If the board of education or curriculum directors can find a mix of problem posing and a little bit of banking methods our kids of the future will be much better off.
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