“… and I think the more educated I become, the more I know I don’t know, and the more I’m able to see that [other person’s opinion] as a valuable point of view, actually, and that I can get more from life saying, ‘I’m not sure, let me find out.’” – Where’s the Learning in Service-Learning, by Janet Eyler & Dwight E. Giles, 1999
In my own experience I have found this to be very true. I started graduate school thinking that I knew a lot about government and politics. Now, four years later, I am the first to admit that there is MUCH more I don’t know about how the political world works than what I do know. And even that which I think I know I am much more likely to question and submit to critical evaluation. This is why I would make a very, very bad politician. If someone were to ask me where I stood on a particular issue, I would probably say something like: “Well, I have a preference for one side, but I can certainly see its weaknesses. I also can appreciate a lot of the arguments for the opposing side. So to answer your question… I’m not 100% sure. Let me think on that a little while.” I’d be elected for sure!
In a recent pedagogy workshop that I attended at Centre College, it was argued that the objective of a good education is to help students develop reflective judgment and critical thinking skills. In essence, students should learn how to make the following progression:
- “It’s true because I believe it’s true.” –>
- “I think it’s true because . . .” –>
- “From what I have learned, the best answer seems to be . . .”