Remember to think for yourself in class

Sept. 21, 2015

Scribe Staff
scribe@uccs.edu

The groove is here, or at least it will be soon.

We have approached that time in the semester when the craziness of the start of the year has more or less subsided, and the pattern following the rest of the semester has emerged.

That means we can take time to reflect on our classes, and make sure we are prepared to handle them. Part of our classes, of course, is the professors.

Professors are smart people.

But they aren’t you.

And they can’t tell you how to think.

As a newspaper, we deal in bias. Our goal, in reporting what UCCS students need to know, is to present our news in a fair, balanced way. Minimizing bias is the only way that our readership can trust us (unless of course it’s an opinion, then bias is needed and obvious).

Here’s the problem: if anyone ever tells you they are completely unbiased, they are either lying or are genuinely deceived about their ability.

Every one of us has our own backgrounds, preferences and tendencies and we carry all of these into our classes and jobs. These are deep-seated ways of looking at the world, biases we cannot help. We don’t often act on them, but they are there nonetheless.

Professors are no different. They work very hard to overcome their built-in biases. But sometimes they don’t or can’t.

On the flip side, often we as students think we know everything there is to know. That isn’t true, either. Professors have studied their given subject a lot longer than you have; their input may help you see things from a different perspective.

Also, pay attention to other students. Some of the most insightful comments heard in a classroom setting have come from someone doing the learning, not the teaching. In a productive classroom, the teachers also learn and the students also teach.

College is the time when we can start thinking for ourselves and broaden our horizons. Gone are the days of secondary school when we weren’t supposed to question the teachers.

Our professors want us to question them – don’t do it to the point of annoyance when you distract the learning of those around you. But do question, even just in your mind, and draw your own conclusions.

Both sides of this coin – students and professors – must not take everything that is said as cemented fact. The world is often not black and white, approach learning in that frame of mind.

The truth as you know is a combination of outside influences and your own thoughts. Never forget the latter when you enter the classroom.

Come in with an open mind, but don’t forget to think for yourself.