Advance Essay #2: Independent Thinking

Since literacy was the focus area for these essay, I focused on the importance of children developing independent thinking. I focused on the importance of schools allowing students to speak their mind in class about what they are learning. In my advance essay, I am most proud of my ability to use the quotes to express my ideas about independent thinking. I was able to further explain what the author wrote. As I continue to write, I want to further my analysis of outside sources so that they are understandable to the reader.

I was six when I picked up the first Harry Potter book. I had never read a book that was so large before. There were so many pages, it looked like the biggest book I had ever seen. It felt like a giant mountain that I had to cross on my own. I sat back down in one of the small, cushy green chairs in the reading area set up for kids in Barnes & Noble. I opened up the book and felt the emptiness of the front cover in one hand and the heaviness of all the pages in the other hand. I started reading and was immediately transported into another world. I felt as though I was right next to Harry, discovering some of the secrets of Hogwarts. I never felt this way with another book, I just would read about the characters for a couple of pages then carried on with my day. This book made me want to read even more. As my mother called my name, I begged her to buy the book. Checking at the registry, I was excited to have my own “grownup” book. Turning through that many pages made me feel older, as though I could read anything I wanted to.

The sheer fact that I was able to pick a book out for myself was what excited me. As we get older, we can sometimes become less engaged in reading. Part of the reason is that some teachers don’t give a choice in what students read in classrooms. They say you should teach the student how to think instead of what to think. In chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed, Paulo Freire wrote:

The outstanding characteristic of this narrative education, then, is the sonority of words,

not their transforming power. "Four times four is sixteen; the capital of Para is Belem." The student records, memorizes, and repeats these phrases without perceiving what four times four really means, or realizing the true significance of "capital" in the affirmation "the capital of Para is Belem," that is, what Belem means for Para and what Para means for Brazil.” Narration (with the teacher as narrator) leads the student to memorize mechanically the narrated account. Worse yet, it turns them into “containers,” into “receptacles” to be filled by the teachers. The more completely she fills the receptacles, the better a teacher she is. The more meekly the receptacles permit themselves to be filled, the better students they are.

Students shouldn’t be stuck in a room and told to memorize a bunch of facts, this doesn’t help them in the real world. If all they’ve ever known is what the teacher tells them to do, you end up with kids who don’t know how to independently think. Without independent thinking, the child doesn’t know how to interact in the real world but at least they know that the capital of Para is Belem. Independent thinking is a freedom that anyone should be given. It helps the student create coherent thoughts so that they can survive on their own without needing a teacher by their side telling them what to do.

The old method was cramming the student with as much knowledge as possible without getting them to know how to obtain knowledge. This recognized result of cram teaching is why schools are starting to change. Some schools are giving their students more freedom, having discussions so that the student can give out their own opinion. With a discussion, different opinions are added and you can build ideas and thoughts on different subjects. This gives an opportunity for a child to know that they are heard and to know that they can have an opinion. When they know that their opinion is heard, they feel as though they can share more and will be more confident share the opinions as an adult.

Another excerpt from Chapter 2 of Pedagogy of the Oppressed stated:

Through dialogue, the teacher-of-the-students and the students-of-the-teacher cease to exist and a new term emerges: teacher-student with students-teachers. The teacher is no longer merely the-one-who-teaches, but one who is himself taught in dialogue with the students, who in turn while being taught also teach. They become jointly responsible for a process in which all grow.

In the education system, there shouldn’t be one person over the other. The teacher could not only teach the student by standing at the blackboard, pointing to what to memorize. Education should be a system in where the teacher also learns from the student. With opinions brought in by students, the teacher can see from different perspectives. It can be a mutual teaching experience between the teacher and student. If both parties learn from each other, they get used to there being views on the same subject but the students also learn how to refine their perspectives so that they are not always biased.

People are starting to realize the way that teachers and students can have an effect on each other in a way that the student can grow into an adult who knows their own opinions but can hear out others. The straightforward way of telling a student what to think is being broken in down by having mutual relationships between teacher and student to allow a way to input their thoughts.

Works Cited:

Freire, Paulo. "Chapter 2." Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Continuum, 1993. N. pag.

Webster University. Web.