There is nothing more addictive than power. Power manifests itself in numerous ways, from the ability of the government to lock up criminals to more local manifestations, such as the power teachers have over students in the classroom. Just as we cannot expect a government to relinquish power without a revolution, we cannot expect teachers to relinquish control without a revolution by students. The most useful tool utilized by teachers in curtailing student empowerment is the banking method of education.
The banking method of education is the most prevalent form of education today in the United States. Teachers teach a certain predetermined set of facts to the students, who attempt to memorize this data in order to succeed in the classroom. Critical examination of what gets taught and why it is important is forsaken, because the teacher has the ultimate say over what gets discussed. This methodology of teaching has it's roots in many notions that are antithetical to student empowerment, such as the idea that students are not able to decide which things they should learn, and that teachers should be seen as the gatekeepers to knowledge.
The banking method has affected many student's lives. An example of this can be found in my own experiences. When I entered twelfth grade, I was scheduled to take AP physics. My teacher was a gentleman by the name of Mr. Mitchell, and he had a very bright mind for physics. His teaching methods, however, were not allowing us to learn because he relied too heavily on the banking method, both by attempting to just implant physics concepts into our brain and through appeals to his own intellectual superiority when answering questions from students concerning the course material.
The students in my class eventually rebelled against his method...