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Benefits of Intellectual Open-Mindedness

Zach Wood ’18, co-President of Uncomfortable Learning, on the benefits of intellectual open-mindedness.

I think many teachers can do more to help their students potentially reap these benefits. In many classes in the social sciences and humanities, even the best professors will tell students their personal understanding of a particular thinker, issue, or event. Personally, I do not think that professors should necessarily self-censor, be apolitical, or refrain from expressing their opinions. However, I do think that students would learn more if professors put more effort into presenting multiple perspectives on topics of discussion.

For example, if the issue being discussed in a political science course is affirmative action, I think students would benefit from having their professor present and explain arguments on all sides of the issue, not just for and against, but also those perspectives in between for and against that might endorse affirmative action under a different guise or altered institutional framework. While professors should feel free to express their viewpoints, they should be mindful of the degree to which doing so can influence the thinking and understanding of their students.

Read the whole thing.