Had a great conversation in class this evening. Focused on Paulo Freire’s Pedagogy of the Oppressed, chapter 2, the banking model.
What amazed me, though, is how tied up my students’ conceptions of education–life even–are with business metaphors. In considering how best to get everyone doing Freire, one student kept focusing on how inefficient the educational system was– how hard to get a good idea to spread. Another discussed how the service industry model–with students as customers–can serve students needs. They were sincere and were using these metaphors to articulate ideas they thought would help make education better.
Education isn’t efficient, ever. And if it is, it probably isn’t any good. The inefficiencies are often where that pesky learning stuff takes place. And customers are always right, get what they want, and should be happy. Many of the most formative educational experiences I’ve had involved being wrong, not getting what I wanted, and being not at all happy. But instead of being scarring, the difficulty phases were possible because of the relationships I had with my teachers.
Relationships and communication. That’s what Freire posits and what I’ve seen work. And that is not easily translatable into a business metaphor (though I’m sure folks have tried).