It was worrying to read Michael Gove last week espousing to the right-of-centre thinktank Policy Exchange his vision of education as "the teacher as owner of knowledge" which, by inference, is transmitted to "fill the receptacle" ie, the student, who has no active role in the learning but passively receives it and regurgitates it on demand, for measurement purposes.
As an erudite person and an opponent of oppression and disadvantage, I am sure Mr Gove will have come across the writing of Paulo Freire (eg, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, 1970). Freire defined this narrow thinking as "banking education", in which the more that teachers (and the system) impose this passive role, "the less the pupils develop a critical consciousness". Surely it is this critical enquiry and the resultant "praxis" that schools should be encouraging in their students and which politicians should similarly be promoting and supporting?
Professor Bill Boyle, University of Manchester.