The United States has been teaching its students for countless years now. Today's education process in the United States is that of the banking process. Paulo Freire gives light to a new and advanced process by which America should learn by, one that will prove to be an investment for the nations society, and soon will.
For years now we have been learning in Americas institutions for the first eighteen to twenty-five years of our lives. Always being taught by our teachers and professors, hoping that what they say will give us light to a hopeful future. Students generally sit in a classroom and absorb or bank, to put it in words of Paulo Freire, the information given or taught by the teachers. According to Paulo Freire we take information given to us by teachers and categorize the information away for later use. Freire contends that when knowledge is passed vertically from teacher to student in the banking concept the knowledge is stored in the brains and cataloged away. An inefficient way to learn that holds us back from reaching our full potential.
We, the students, never question the validity of the information. We simply understand that the teacher is right and we take for granted what the teacher gives us. Who says that all information is actually valid, how do we know until we, the students, actually do it. If a student reads in a text that a certain plant when eaten tastes sweet and another tastes bitter the students are then supposed to take for granted that what the text says and what the teacher says are correct. So how do we genuinely recognize two different tastes? Test it out for ourselves in a group session.
Researchers report that, regardless of the subject matter, students working in small groups tend to learn more of what is taught and retain it longer than when the same content is presented in other instructional formats.
Barbara Gross Davis, Tools for Teaching
Group work allows multiple input into one area of study or topic and thus allows the group to come to a consensus or understanding on that topic.
Group work has been tossed around for years now. In the medical field is where group consensus originated. Doctors found that having an opinion of a legion of doctors as opposed too just having the opinion of one doctor is more beneficial to the patient. The same has expanded into the business sector. Businesses encourage and often require meetings or group sessions to discuss various topics. In these meetings many ideas or viewpoints related to a common topic are laid on the table. These topics are then evaluated, reviewed, contemplated, and then put into effect. The outcome is an idea that is not only beneficial to the one who thought of it but also a benefit to the whole corporate entity. Group work allows good points from various angles to come together and form the most favorable situation.
The idea of group work has been increasingly integrated into the learning process today. Teachers now allow more group work among students. Allowing to do so gives the students more freedom and thus a cushion like feeling that gives them the comfort to talk amongst others and toss ideas around. Group session gives students a better sense of security when discussing topics amongst peers. Instead of speaking in front of the entire class and feeling uncomfortable and prone to mistakes, group work allows one to feel at ease. Comfort allows an individual to experience a more relaxed and casual setting. This setting is what brings out more interaction amongst peers, true feelings, and knowledge some saw was inaccessible. This setting also enables an individual to take in knowledge that is moving from peer to peer. Discussion groups monitored by a teacher allow students to freely learn about a topic at hand. These students can learn progressively by talking out the problem or the topic. All in the group will see what they started at and where the ended up and how they got there. They will then understand exactly why an answer to a problem is what it is.
Similar to group work and also playing hand-in-hand with group work is Freires problem posing process. It is a way by which knowledge is expanded through all. Freire also introduces, engraved into the problem proposing process, a concept called reality in process. Reality in process is basically the thinking that when learning together as man teaching man with the world/reality as the mediator knowledge will be in a constant and forwardly flow. Thus with this constant flow of knowledge you will not be acquiring the same vertically stale knowledge, its in a sense new knowledge that you will be learning. Reality in process is the idea that the world is ever-changing and you learn with the world and what the world has to offer.
As said in the Stanford University Newsletter on Teaching winter edition, "group work, used both in and out of class, can be an important supplement to lectures, helping students master concepts and apply them to situations calling for complex applications of critical thinking skills." These types of qualities are extremely important in today's world. With the world ever-changing one will be lost if he cannot adapt to the world. These skills such as problem solving and critical thinking skills are exactly what one needs to be able to take in the new knowledge that is given to us by the fast paced and fast changing world.