Educators should take students' interests into account when planning the content of the courses they teach.
Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.
Should educators take into account the interests and suggestions of their students when planning courses as a mean to motivate the students? While I can certainly see the benefits if this policy is implemented, my concern is that this is not consistent with the purpose of education, which is to offer an unbiased and objective way to identify and select talents.
To begin with, one strong reason to support the aforementioned policy in course planning is that students are more motivated to learn when they are interested the subjects they are studying. It is often said that interest is the best teacher, so if a student’s interest is taken into consideration during course planning, the overall effectiveness of teaching is likely to be improved. Examples abound in our life. Da Vinci could tirelessly practice the basic skills of painting subjects as simple as eggs out of his intense interest in the effect of lighting and perspectives on painting. By comparison, one would very unlikely keep such repetitive work if he or she is not genuinely interested.
That being said, being conducive to learning does not necessarily justify the implementation of this policy, because we still need to consider what education is for in the first place. While in the eyes of those who support the aforementioned policy and who argue motivation stems from interests, education should be about the acquisition of knowledge, I cannot fully agree with them. After all, in today’s world human beings have accumulated so much knowledge that not a single person can master them all. Moreover, the advancement in digital technologies has enabled us to search for and acquire information much more efficiently than doing so through schools. In my view, as a result, the purpose of education is actually for the society to identify and select talents so human resources can be more effectively allocated and hence maximize the overall societal efficiency according to Adam Smith’s theory on the division of labor.
Given the discussion above, it becomes clear educators should not take students’ interests and suggestion into course planning because that will go against the purpose of education. As discussed above, if education seeks to identify talents, one requirement would be it is fair to all. Furthermore, it is almost inevitable that students’ interests will vary. This means that in course planning, it is extremely challenging, if not impossible in the first place, to take students’ interests into account while keeping education fair to those who are not impressed by what others may be interested in. As a result, I cannot endorse this policy out of the respect for fairness.
To summarize, for educators it is always a question what to include the curriculum for students to promote their learning. If we just consider the effectiveness of learning at school, then it is logical to take into consideration what students are interested in. The main
reason is that people are much more motivated to engage in what interests them. However, what bothers me is that education is simply not about imparting knowledge to students; rather, it has a social meaning. That is, the society needs the education system to be able to discern talents, which would require a fair and objective standard. Therefore, in course planning if educators take the interest of certain students into account, it would be unfair to those who do not share the same interest. Given these considerations, I disagree with this policy.