Issues in the Education System Series: Part I | Part II
When we walk into the lecture hall, we can easily identify the seats meant for students and the single podium that belongs to the teacher. Many of the lecture halls at universities are meant to accommodate hundreds of students at a time, the seats arranged theater-style.
And that’s what classes have become, a show to attend, lectures to passively listen to as students meticulously transcribe their professor’s monologue into their college-ruled notebooks.
Most lectures I have attended are exactly like that, an echo of the assembly-line education system conceived during the Industrial Revolution. Little or no engagement is made with the students, only the passive transfer of information into the notebooks and occasionally, into the minds of students. This system may have been appropriate in the 1800s, but in this information-driven age, it will lead to failure.
This is what Brazilian author Paulo Freire describes in his book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, as the “banking system” of education. In this system, the students are the empty deposit accounts into which teachers deposit information. Here, the students know nothing while the teacher knows all.
True, teachers are meant to be knowledgeable in their field of teaching and are paid to teach. However, the method of instruction is just as important as the knowledge they have, because a passive system creates a passive student who adapts to the world instead of critically transforming it.
Sir Ken Robinson’s video on “Changing the Education Paradigm” addresses these issues that arise from such an out-dated education system. Here, Robinson provides a thought-provoking analysis on the current public education system and the need to reform it:
In this series, I will focus on issues in our education system and evaluate methods of teaching and learning. This will mostly consist of observations from my own experiences going through the public education system and at UCLA as a student and a teacher assistant.
If you have any recommendations you would like to share, feel free to post it in the comment section below. I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.