Worse yet, it turns them into "containers", into "receptacles" to be "filled" by the teacher. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.
The teacher talks about reality as if it were motionless, static, compartmentalized, and predictable. Or else he expounds on a topic completely alien to the existential experience of the students. His task is to "fill" the students with the contents which are detached from reality, disconnected from the totality that engendered them and could give them significance. Words are emptied of their concreteness and become a hollow, alienated, and alienating verbosity.
The outstanding characteristic of this narrative education, then, is the sonority of words, not their transforming power. "Four times four is sixteen; the capital of Para is Belem." The student records, memorizes, and repeats these phrases without perceiving what four times four really means, or realizing the true significance of "capital" in the affirmation " the capital of Para is Belem," that is, what Belem means for Para and what Para means for Brazil.
Knowledge emerges only through invention and re-invention, through the restless, impatient, continuing, hopeful inquiry human beings pursue in the worlds, with the world, and with each other.
Education must begin with the solution of the teacher-student contradiction, by reconciling the poles of the contradiction so that both are simultaneously teachers and students.
This solution is not (nor can it be) found in the banking concept. On the contrary, banking education maintains and even stimulates the contradiction through the following attitudes and practices, which mirror oppressive society as a whole:
the teacher teaches and the students are taught;
the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing;
the teacher thinks and the students are thought about;
the teacher talks and the students listen - meekly;
the teacher disciplines and the students are disciplined;
the teacher chooses and enforces his choice, and the students comply;
the teacher acts and the students have the illusion of acting through the action of the teacher;
the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not consulted) adapt to it;
the teacher confuses the authority of knowledge with his or own professional authority, which she and he sets in opposition to the freedom of the students;
the teacher is the Subject of the learning process, while the pupils are mere objects.
My fear is that my daughter, who was born in 2008, will grow up and be all too familiar with Freire's list. If our children grow up and react to this list with anything less than shock and unfamiliarity, we will know that we failed them.