Journal Entry #5, Free Your Mind

While browsing for ideas for this weeks journal entries I became distracted and started watching clips on YouTube. In the process I came across this clip from the Dead Poet’s Society and a lightbulb went off… This movie is full of educative experiences. From the scene where Keating instructs his students to rip out the pages of their text books to the above scene where he encourages his students to break the confines of conformity and think for themselves. Sure, some of the lessons in the movie may seem unconventional but I think there are some valuable ideas within them.

So, from this clip the educative experience I will be discussing is thinking for yourself. I think that the opportunity to think for yourself is a valuable educative experience because it encourages innovation, creativity, discussion, and independence. There is also some risk associated with thinking for yourself because sometimes your thoughts may go against the grain of what is acceptable. There is ample time for conformity within the classroom; listen to the lesson, do this worksheet, line up, etc. But how much time are students allowed to think for themselves and utilize their creativity?

One of the reasons the educative experience of thinking for yourself is important to me is that my grade 10 English teacher encouraged his students to think for themselves and I will always have fond memories of his class and all of the things that I learned.  We often had discussions within the class, our projects were fairly open ended and we had a lot of choice in the books we read and the things we wrote about. At first it was a bit of a scary experience because I was used to being in classes where the structure and assignments were not  flexible. I learned a lot in those classes too, but I would say that a different kind of learning took place in my English class. There was a certain ease within that class because the students knew they were encouraged to think for themselves and we also knew that our opinions and ideas were valued.

As a future teacher I believe it is important to incorporate activities, projects, and opportunities in my classroom where students are encouraged to think for themselves. All too often, children are too scared to share their ideas or feel like their ideas and thoughts are not important. As a teacher, I hope to be open minded to the thoughts of my students so that they feel valued and know that their thoughts are important.

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