Elementary school is designed to give children the foundation necessary to build their education. It is there that one learns addition, subtraction, reading, writing, spelling and all the basics for functioning in the academic and real worlds. Another thing it teaches is how to regurgitate information in order to satisfy our oppressors.
I remember the standardized tests required by the state during my elementary years. To my young self, they meant hours of sitting still and filling out forms, but now I see it was to show how much information we had swallowed and how much we could reproduce on paper. During the weeks that preceded testing, we would spend our class time swallowing facts that teachers assumed would be on the test. This is the banking style of education as described by Paulo Fiere in The Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Fiere says, “The banking concept of education regards men as adaptable, manageable beings” (261). This means that our system is designed to make us more placated and controllable to the powers that be, which in turn prevents us from growing and developing in any other facet of ourselves.
Since our days as young students, we've become accustomed to testing in education. We have been trained only to swallow and regurgitate. We are not trained to think or be, but to abide and do. This is how the control of the oppressors is gained over their oppressed, and Fiere warns us of the consequences of such training. Perhaps this is an overreaction, but maybe it is time to rethink how we train our youth.
Freire, Paulo. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 2000. Print.