Throughout the world, the education system faces a contradiction between the student-teacher relationship. In “The ‘Banking’ Concept of Education”, Freire discusses his view on this relationship saying, “the teacher knows everything and the students know nothing” and “the teacher chooses and enforces his choice; and the students comply”. At West Chester University, we face some of the problems that Friere mentions and the only way to fix the problem is to start making changes.
In order to bridge the gap that separates students and teachers West chester University needs to start taking steps in order to better their education system. First year students at West Chester are required to take First Year Experience, where they learn about college and what they will need to succeed. Each week the class meets as a big group and then on Fridays we meet in smaller groups called breakout sessions. I found that this one of the few benefits that this class has. These breakout sessions are helpful in getting to know your professor on a closer level rather than just listening to them talk to a class of 150 students. This could be beneficial for each class students take. Once a week students could have breakout classes with their professor and 5-6 other students. By doing this, students would be able to get to know their teacher on a closer level. Also, students that are more introverted would be able to ask their questions in a smaller environment without feeling the judgement and stares of a whole class. Through these small group classes students and teachers will get to know each other on a more personal level.
Another step that can be taken to resolve the gap between teachers and their students is the general education courses. Friere says, “the teacher chooses the program content, and the students (who were not considered) adapt to it.” This quote relates to general education classes because students aren’t allowed to decide. They just have to take these courses even if they don’t apply to their major. This could really hinder the students success in that class because they might not be interested in a class they are being forced to take. Overall, that same mindset could affect the students relationship with their professor. If a student doesn’t want to be in a certain class or is not interested in the subject of the class, how are they going to be able to form a relationship with that teacher. In order to avoid this teacher-student contradiction, I think the requirements of general education classes should be removed or at least lessened. This will help solve the problem because students will be able to take more classes that they actually have an interest in; and thus might be more willing to form a relationship with their professor.
By taking these small steps, it could lead to a bigger change and knock down the barrier between students and teachers. Then they would be able to see each other as equals rather than their boss just talking at them.