Answers vs. Inquiry

By Josie Barton

Many high schools fail to communicate to its students the jump from regulated high school education to the permissive college lifestyle. Students are suddenly handed access to freedom, responsibility, and different teaching styles.

High School students are rarely given space to freely think and question. Publicist Dutch poet and philosopher, Martinus Hendrikus Benders, takes an outside approach to the education system: “Our school systems are focused on a single objective: to produce model citizens for society in order to feed this machine and prevent its breakdown. That’s why our school systems have no interest in developing models that actually require and stimulate useful values in people, such as courage or imagination or inventiveness.”

A significant amount of content that is needed to endure college studies is left out of the high school education. A 2015 assessment taken by the National Assessment of Educational Progress shows that only 37% of 12th grade students across 740 schools are prepared for college-level math and reading. Many high school students carry mindsets of completing high school simply to achieve enrollment through college.

Inquiry-based learning serves new purpose to many college students. High school lessons consist of technocratic clockwork. Receiving explicitly elite answers obstructs the possibility of an outsider’s perspective.

Many college courses inspire inquiry on meaning and purpose. Questioning the most simplistic ideas requires vulnerability and self-confidence, which many students lack. Author, essayist, and Yale University professor, William Deresiewicz, reveals his own professor’s teaching style to Warren Berger, author of A More Beautiful Question: “He had the ability to reframe things-to ask questions that got at something. Fundamental. Sometimes the questions almost seemed stupid; there’s the idea of ‘the holy fool’ who asks the questions no one else will, and that was part of what he was doing. He was showing us that everything is open to question, especially the things we thought we already knew.” Deresiewicz incorporated this teaching style into his own education method.

Confidence plays an instrumental role for student academic development and understanding. Students battle against racial and class stereotypes, resulting in the refusal of necessary questioning.

Online learning has proven to increase student confidence and inquiry. According to the informative novel, A More Beautiful Question, Former Google VP Sebastian Thrun and former Google designer Irene Au claim that anonymously questioning is much easier through online learning.

The ability to question leaves mountains of possibility for future endeavors. It is up to the students to decide what actions they will take to better themselves and their future.

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