“I wish my teachers weren’t so biased.”
It’s a comment we overheard this semester, and it shocked some of us — not just because it was said, but because so many people seemed to agree with it.
Instead, how about, “Have an open mind.”
Some people go to college because “it’s just what you do after high school.” Some go because their parents demand it. Some people go to college to broaden their horizons, not reinforce the things that they already believe. Or at least they should.
If students are looking to simply be spoon-fed straight from the textbook they should attend an online university where they have no personal interaction with real people. Sitting silently by while the status quo continues will never drive our society forward but disregarding dissenting voices without even giving thought to ideas behind them will surely drive us backward.
It’s simply not the point of college. College is meant to be a place where people go to learn new things, have new experiences, and meet new people. The key here is new. Learn to critically evaluate information as it is taken in. Digest what is being said. Listen to for the purpose of knowledge rather than listening simply to respond.
Everyone has values and opinions formed over time by the unique experiences of their lives.
When a group of students are sitting a class that they’re all signed up and paid for and a professor walks in and says something (usually politically motivated), the students who don’t agree with, rather than getting upset, should take a minute to reflect on what is actually being said.
What is happening is known as confirmation bias. Simply put, this is the tendency to seek out information that backs up what we already believe and to disregard new information that contradicts those beliefs.
The typical narrative is “teachers should keep their political opinions to themselves and not spread them to their students.” But this notion that no one around them should share a different viewpoint is faulty and it really does a great disservice, not only to the individual but also to society as a whole.
High school is essentially a bubble, especially in the many small towns scattered across Texas. When people are born, grown up, and grow old in the same towns their entire lives, their views will likely remain largely the same.
But when the choice is made to go off to college, an open mind should be kept.
There is value in the differing opinions of almost everyone in this country and the best way to start having better more open dialogues is to start listening to others.