In support for an open-minded education.

Trần Thiên Phước

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Although unmoral ideas “based on social standard” such as racism, fascism, sexism etc for example are believed to have a negative impact on those who are exposed to them, it’s actually true that if these ideas are to be taught and educated effectively, it can do exactly the opposite.

Conceding the point that if one is exposed frequently to an idea, he is going to be affected by it in some certain ways, one cannot disregard numerous supportive evidences of it such as mass cultural influence of the this global complex world, imposing of ideologies into education of authoritarian regimes manipulating people’s perspectives for their own purposes or bad characters of a person resulted in his environment.

For all these reasons, many people paradoxically believe that any exposure to such undesirable ideas would negatively affect the intellectual growth of a child. Therefore, the prohibition and exclusion of these ideas from education have been practiced by many nations.

However, it’s actually true that if these ideas are to be implanted effectively, it would prove efficient in educating people to be resistant to those ideas. To illustrate the statement more clearly, at first, let’s take a look at an old-lesson that our teachers used to tell us about perspectives: two kids often disagreed on things until their teacher brought them into a room, sit them opposite to each other with a ball in between; she asked them to tell what color the ball has and both of them answered differently because each side of the ball has a differently color. To make reference to that lesson, we must understand that humans are very similar to a computer that they make judgments and decisions based on the data they have in their brain, and if the teacher prohibited both students from putting himself to the other student’s shoes, how would he understand the difference and make a good judgment of what he’s seeing if what he sees is something that he hasn’t never been exposed to?

Let’s look at some other examples: the neglecting of putting drugs and their consequences into education in earlier time due to the fear that children would be negatively influenced, and the result was an ongoing increasing of drug addicted teenagers. Or the prohibition of sexual education into schools with reason similar to example above evidently led to unwanted abortion due to uneducated decisions. Or the imposing of an only into education of nations during the cold wars without reference to any other ideologies due to the fear that those ideologies’ vices would negatively influence the people evidently shaped people’s opinion and knowledge of what the other system is; it consequently decreased people’s tolerance to differences, in which increased the hostility among these nations and prolonged the cold war.

It’s evidently proven that if “undesirable ideas” are to be taught and educated differently, it’d help people to make good judgments. When drugs and their consequences were introduced into school, and mass propaganda about them was put into practice, it evidently reduced the drug addicted teenagers. Same thing with education, the amount of abortions evidently decreased (someone would argue that it didn’t seem to happen in America, but note that America today is different from America 30 years ago, and there’re other factors that play part in the result, thus if America stayed the same as 30-40 years ago with only one difference that these “undesirable” ideas were put into education would prove desirable gains; evidence of that were a short-period decreasing of abortions and drugs users and the increase of tolerance result after new perspectives were massively and effectively implanted into education during the late 70’s and early 80’s if I ‘m not mistaken, please correct me if I’m wrong).

In brief, closing the ears and eyes of children and protected them from any exposure to “undesirable” ideologies may prove ineffectively. But instead if these “undesirable ideas” are to be taught and educated effectively that would guided the children to make good judgment and decision based on good data and knowledge, it’d prove much more efficient in promoting virtues and good values in the children.

Author: Phuoc Tran
Sumbitting date: oct 9, 2005
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Comments from the Writing Contest Board of Examiners:

“Too colloquial, cliché, misuse of punctuation and words, lack of formality, some simple grammatical mistakes.”

“Good. More details needed to back up the arguments”

“Phuoc's two essays stand out because they talk about rather complex and controversial issues, and he knows how to lay out his arguments. However, his sentences are sometimes cluttered and expressions not very clear. Without fact-checking all the details he mentions, I think he makes pretty persuasive cases in both essays.”
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