Education should promote Open-Mindedness
“The optimist turns the impossible into the possible; the pessimist turns the possible into the impossible” – William Arthur Ward.
For any learner, keeping an open mind is an important part of education. In today’s blog, I will be talking about open-mindedness, why education should promote it, and how the current education with its assessment system makes people close-minded and obstinate.
What is open-mindedness?
Open-mindedness is the willingness to expose oneself to new beliefs, values, experiences, etc. that differ from one’s own. Having an open mind involves being receptive to diverse ideas, arguments, and information. This then allows a person to rethink assumptions, identify misinformation, and consider alternative options to make informed decisions.
On the contrary, people who are closed-minded are not willing to listen to other ideas and perspectives, and are only willing to consider their own viewpoints. This makes it difficult for them to see all of the factors that contribute to problems, and to come up with effective solutions.
One important point to highlight is that being open-minded does not imply that a person is indecisive and is not capable of thinking for oneself. What open-mindedness implies is that an open-minded person can take a firm stand on a position after considering various ideas and alternatives, and then can act accordingly.
Open your mind, and imagine the possibilities
Open-mindedness is a positive character quality which allows a person to think critically and rationally. Having an open mind helps a person in many ways such as:
- Gains fresh insights as a person challenges ones’ existing beliefs and considers new ideas. This teaches new things about oneself and the surroundings; hence, allows the learner to imagine several possibilities about any situation.
- Gains new experiences as new ideas open you up to new exposures and viewpoints.
- Provides new learning opportunities from your day-to-day life experiences about the world and the people around you.
- Provides personal development opportunities as you become receptive, mentally strong, confident, and optimistic. This is as a result of continuing learning from new information, diverse viewpoints, and several life experiences.
Education and open-mindedness
Open-mindedness should be one of the fundamental aims of education. The formal education system (schools, colleges, universities) should cultivate an open-minded environment where the minds of young children should be allowed to evolve with encouragement to think out of their comfort zones.
Unfortunately, the current education system, with its grading systems and assessments, does not allow students to be open-minded. The structured curriculum followed by the need to memorize in order to pass the exams does not promote the “open-mindedness” thought process in students. There is a need to relook the current education system with the aim to promote open-mindedness with the focus on aiding students to think and learn.
Teachers often lack the time to listen patiently to students and discuss issues. They should not force their beliefs on students, instead they should listen to what children say, should encourage them to talk, and think about various viewpoints put forward by other students. There are many approaches where open-mindedness can be inculcated in the students and learners. Teachers can allow students to speak up in the classroom on diverse topics, such as cultures, traditions, religion, legislation, society issues, etc. Open-mindedness allows interactive learning as students converse, interact, discuss, and learn collaboratively from others students.
The education world changes quickly and will continue to do so as we come up with situations like Covid-19 or advancement in technologies such as AR/VR, etc. However, one of the fundamental aims of education should be to promote open-mindedness, the ability to listen, and explore the various possibilities. Being open to these various possibilities allow people to be life-long learners and have a positive approach to life with a driving force that “Nothing is Impossible”.
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