Professors should not be allowed to advocate their views on political or social issues in the classroom. I stand on the position that professors should teach students and provoke their thoughts, but not affect them or advocate his/her political or social position. Every citizen of our country has a right to have his/her own views and opinions about the problem. I can fully agree with Professor John Dewey who says that “indoctrination occurs whenever an instructor insists that students accept as truth propositions that are in fact professionally contestable” (Finkin 55). Thus, I think that any contradictory facts, own opinions, thought-provoking ideas should be examined and analyzed instead of being accepted as universal truth.
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I believe that professors should not implant their ideas in students’ minds. This is the way to operate the young forces of energetic people. If the professor is of high account among the students, his ideas are followed as the only right way to act and think. So, it is necessary “to restrict professors’ academic freedom in the classroom” and not only “to point out abuses of the classroom that masquerade as ‘academic freedom’”? (Berube 1). I think a professor can introduce his own thoughts without provoking students to agree or disagree; but more often he/she implies his/her own opinion on the issue. Thus, the professor’s opinion is doomed to affect students’ ones. The professor infringes the right of a student to have his/her own opinion, thus involving passive following the ideas and opinions which already exist, without trying to rouse a flow of thoughts.
Professors create tension in the classroom, as another point against the professors’ influence on the students’ opinions is that the most obvious way to affect the ideas is to make them think over the issues in a particular vein. So, in my view “professors must be free to frame their courses as they see fit, and that they need to be able to draw on diverse materials to facilitate learning, it avoids grappling with the very real problem of how doctrinaire instruction should be identified and addressed” (O’Connor 1). But, unfortunately, the policy of free framing can lead to political provocations, as not all the students are ready to listen carefully to the opinion of the opponent and to react in a calm manner. Thus, the problem is the way a person tries to affect another person’s mind; moreover, this absence of choice can provoke unpredictable results.
Though there are many arguments against the discussion of political and social issues in the classroom by professors, I should tell that the main thing is that students are free to analyze the introduced issues by themselves in order to make unbiased and self-reliant conclusions. Thus Mr. Barrett, a lecturer at the Madison University, introduced counter-evidence in order to explore the myth about the prejudice of the political and social discussions in the classroom: “no matter how many (or few) views are presented to the students, they should be offered as objects of analysis rather than as candidates for allegiance” (Fish 2). This argument is of contradictory nature. Consequently, the professor has no right to affect students’ opinions, because his words are believed to represent the universal truth, whereas the truth can be represented by anyone who claims that he/she is a professor.
In a conclusion, I would like to state my clear position on the issue. The professors are to teach students, but not to affect their opinion; professors should provoke thinking, but not create tension in the classroom. The only way to avoid indoctrination is to make students analyze the problems and express their own ideas on the issue. In my view, to indoctrinate means to affect the opinion and to make people think; whereas this way of thinking is acceptable for the professor. Professor’s opinion should not be the subject for discussion; it should not be stated at all. The professor should not implant the way of thinking instead of teaching students.
Berube, Michael. “Freedom to Teach.” Inside Higher Ed. 2007. Web.
Finkin, Matthew W., Robert C. Post, Cary Nelson, Emst Benjamin and Eric Combest. “Report – Freedom in the Classroom.” American Association of University Professors. 2007. Web.
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Fish, Stanley. “Conspiracy Theories 101.” The New York Times. 2006. Web.
O’Connor, Erin. “AAUP To Critics: What, Us Biased?” Minding the Campus: Reforming Our Universities. 2007. Web.