Students Need Education That Teaches Creative Thinking
Paulo Freire believed that nobody educates anybody else and nobody educates himself. People educate each other through their interactions and dialog about the world. Humans are incomplete beings, conscious of their incompleteness, and their eternal quest to BE MORE.
Currently in education, there is excessive use of lecturing and memorization, with little analysis of the importance of what is being memorized. We know dates, but we do not know how they affect our lives. We have simply memorized and retained the date. This is the banking system where students are seen as containers into which knowledge is deposited. The teacher is the depositor and the knowledge is what is deposited on a daily basis. This banking concept of education attempts to transform the minds of students so that they will adapt better to actual situations (life) and be subjugated by them with greater ease. The more passive people are, the more they will adapt, the more their creativity will diminish and their naiveté increase, which creates the conditions necessary for the oppressors to emerge as generous benefactors.
Education that cultivates the ability to think critically in students has to be a conscious act in which the content is understood and analyzed. This overcomes the traditional paradigm that exists between teacher and student. It must abandon this one-way relationship and allow a two-way relationship to contribute to the whole education of both parties, since they both have elements to bring to the learning. If this reciprocal, pursuit of knowledge is lost; the learning process becomes a one-way act of memorization. The role of the educator should be to cultivate students who question the world around them and provide the appropriate conditions so that the learning moves beyond common belief to arrive at the level of reasoned discourse. This type of learning helps students to create new expectations and reach a truly reflective state in which they discover their own reality. It incites new challenges that move the students toward a self-construction of the world in which they have real and direct participation in their activities. All of this requires the creation of curious students with a love of knowledge, without mediating their learning through artificial experiences.
No child left behind really means every child is left behind. We no longer pursue educational excellence but rather standardized test results. Our curriculum does not teach the depth and breadth of knowledge our children require to thrive and become more. It does not teach creative thinking skills they so desperately need in today’s world. We need to challenge our children, to set high standards in their education, and hold both them and their educators accountable. Parents and students alike would benefit from a paradigm that teachers and administrators have a job to do and that job is not being done effectively. That is why more than twenty percent of students who earn a 4.0 GPA’s need some form of remedial math or reading at upon their arrival at CSEB. I can only imagine the struggle they must encounter when critical thinking is necessary to solving class problems, let alone the needed in the classroom of life.