Educate not indoctrinate

Andrew Scot Bolsinger

I grew up the son of teachers. Eventually, I even joined the "faith," teaching high school history and journalism after spending nearly five years in graduate school.

This upbringing embedded in me the value of the process of learning. The path of education is one of gathering, like a squirrel in a tree. The vast information of the world's history is ours to sift, process, consider, debate and hopefully, in some small way contribute to.

Unfortunately too many people view the classroom more like a catechism, complete with a list of approved topics to emblaze into the consciousness of young minds. They wish to strike topics or add them as their agenda is best served.

But this is indoctrination, not education. With indoctrination, a pre-determined set of principles are the focus. With education, the cirricculum is an infinite set, where all is ripe for study.

As the issue of global warming grows, many will want to block efforts to teach about it. Likewise, some are determined to teach only a pre-determined catechism of thier own. Both are forms of indoctrination, fought not among students seeking the keys to knowledge.

How can we expect students to understand news stories on global warning without diverse instruction?

Any teacher worth his or her salt will empower students to think critically, root around in issues and discover new truths. Ignoring global warming in schools is simply ascribing to a pressing need to indoctrinate, which has no place in our classrooms.

While teaching civics I once heard from a young mother who threatened to seek my termination. My crime was teaching the values of a certain political party.

"But how will she decide for herself if she is never shown the values of all political parties?" I asked.

"It is already decided," the mother said.

Indoctrination does not teach or empower. To ignore the many viewpoints of global warming in the school is leave students subjected to the power of indoctrination one way or another. Education empowers students to learn their values on their own.

Share This Story