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Extending Freedom to Learn for Students

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MOOR cartoon by CARMEN LE

BARRY CHEUNG
Staff Writer

Children of many generations have always been forced to go to school by law, parents’ expectations of them getting a formal education and the notion that they must learn how to become an adult by managing life wisely, even as early as high school. However, has it ever come to mind that students are being trained to do things a certain way by almost every one of their teachers? Students should be given more freedom on how to learn rather than being forced to do things a certain way.

According to the Natural Child Project, schools seem to be the most anti-democratic, most authoritarian, most destructive and most dangerous institutions of our society. Schools and teachers set a basic guideline for students to follow. It is this power that causes students to lack the maturity to last in the real world. A teacher with a biased perspective on a certain topic for essay prompts or certain steps on how to do a problem can limit the options a student has. That takes the freedom of thought away from the student, since they are faced with an ultimatum: either listen to the instructions given or fail. Students should not have to face such situations. They should be given the option of choosing the learning style they want, the speed at which they go and the freedom to think without being penalized.

Although it seems risky to have students to manage themselves because they lack maturity compared to adults, it will benefit them more to do so. As students progress through each year of school, college and the workforce loom closer and closer. In college and the workplace, there is more freedom than has been experienced in high school. If a student has not yet adapted to the freedom of adulthood throughout high school, then it would be expected that they would abuse the surplus amount of freedom that they would be given in the future. That extra amount of freedom will probably influence the adult self of the student to waste their time rather than fulfilling their duties in the near future. Schools should give their students the freedom to manage their own studies by allowing them to do things such as setting their own schedules for a chapter’s worth of assignments that would be due by a certain time, so that eventually the students will take responsibility for themselves.

Real learning thrives when real choices are given. If students always have to face a situation where they cannot do anything except follow and conform to what is spelled out for them, then they may never learn or hold responsibility for what will occur in the near future. The best option that schools should give students would be the right to take responsibility for themselves.

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