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Teachers Teaching According to the Textbooks

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Teachers Teaching According to the Textbooks

Many studies have been conducted in the past concerning the content of American history textbooks because, "the teaching of history, more than any other discipline, is dominated by textbooks" (Loewen 335). This is where the teachers just take the material given to them in the textbooks and then pass on the information to the students with little interaction with the students. "This is the 'banking' concept of education, in which the scope of action allowed to the students extends only as far as receiving, filing, and storing the deposits. They do, it is true, have the opportunity to become collectors or cataloguers of the things they store. But in the last analysis, it is men themselves who are filed away through the lack of creativity, transformation, and knowledge in this (at best) misguided system" (Freire, 1). Many people believe that our education system is among the best in the world, a careful examination suggests that our history teachers and their textbooks are creating linear thinkers with little decision making skills.

The most interesting issue between Paulo Freire and James Leowen's theories is their ideas of how to teach. Freire discusses the 'banking' concept, where the teacher just gives the students the information and they are expected to understand it, Loewen explains the narration process through textbooks, even though they may not always be correct. They both have the same feelings that there has to be better ways of teaching than just standing up there and giving the students the information, just hoping they understand and retain the material. Even though it was a long time ago, I do remember sitting in American History class and being bored most of the time. The teacher I had used the "banking" method of just giving us the information and we had to memorize it for the quizzes/exams. I remember thinking much in line with Loewen when he states, "None of the facts is remembered, because they are presented simply as one damn thing after another" (Loewen, 337). This is the reason why most people do not recall much of the information that they were taught back in high school.

Freire believes that, "Narration (with the teacher as narrator) leads the students to memorize mechanically the narrated content. Worse yet, it turns them into 'containers,' into "receptacles" to be "filled" by the teacher. The more completely he fills the receptacles, the better a teacher he is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are" (Freire, 1). This means that teacher expect their students to memorize the information without any critical thinking involved as to why what the teacher is saying is correct, just to the fact that the teacher is right. Loewen believes teachers are teaching history,



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