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'comfortable expressing one's opinion' - Haverford: Honor Code Essay


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Dec 28, 2009, 04:36pm   #1
I'm not sure if this essay is too redundant. also not sure if it's a good idea to put examples of teachers i had in the past who don't live up to the values that i think should be in the honor code. Thanks in advance


Question: The Honor Code at Haverford creates an environment of deep trust, respect, and collegiality between professors and students which, in turn, fosters open dialogue and free intellectual exchange. Talk about the conditions you think are essential to allowing this type of dialogue and exchange in both academic and non-academic settings.

An environment conducive to learning and the sharing of opinions is necessary in any learning institution in order to encourage free thinking between students and teachers. In order to create this environment, I think it is necessary for students and teachers to be open to all opinions and points of view while still being able to assert their opinion in a respectful manner, to treat all students and all teachers equally and with respect, and to have a passion for what they're teaching/learning.
Teachers, and students, need to be open to their peers' opinions in order to generate an environment where everyone will feel comfortable expressing their genuine opinion. In my junior year, I had a history teacher who was very liberal, and his rants about his own personal views made me very uncomfortable in his class because they conflicted with my more traditional, and conservative views. I respected his opinion and what he had to say, but I felt that he wasn't open to hearing the differing thoughts of others. Because of this, I tended not to participate in that class as much as I normally would have because of the fear of my opinions being outwardly rejected. In order to create an environment where teachers and students will want to share their opinions, there has to be an open mindedness for differences on both sides.
Teachers also need to treat all students equally in order to command respect from their students. My math research teacher, Dr. Gerver, who I had all throughout high school, genuinely cared for and respected the work of each of his students. By seeing his true dedication and ability to treat every student with equal care and attention, he showed that he was authentically concerned with each student's work. Because of this, each student, in turn, respected him and what he had to say.
A necessary component for having an environment conducive to learning is a passion for what is being studied/taught. This goes both ways. For a student, passion is necessary in order to perform to the best of their ability. A student truly has to care about the subject material in order for them to grow and succeed. My favorite subjects, math, science, and Spanish, were the ones where I succeeded the most. Because of my desire to learn, my teachers knew that I was serious about my work and about the class. The same goes for the teachers. I had a physics teacher who was retiring the following year and didn't care about how much we learned, or what we did during class. He never bothered to learn the student's names, so that, on the last day of school, he only knew the names of a couple of students in a 15 person class. Very often he would give us a sheet to work on and then spend the rest of the period at his computer answering e-mails or searching YouTube. Knowing that my teacher had lost his passion for physics and for teaching, it became very hard for me to care about the subject. Because of this, I did poorly on a few tests, and developed a strong dislike for this teacher so that I didn't want to talk to him about physics, or anything else for that matter. I think passion is the most essential element to creating an effective learning environment, and with it, most students would agree that they will be engaged and truly interested in their work and the subject matter.

...free thinking among students and teachers. In order to create this environment, I think it is necessary for ...

You could make the first paragraph better by adding one more sentence to give a concept that unites these essential elements you listed. What is the underlying principle common to them all? Capture it in a sentence, and add that sentence to the end of para #1.

You do not mention the word collegial at all in the essay. You should read about the concept of collegiality in educational environments. Google it, and discuss it in the essay.
Also:
Because of this, some ordinarily high-achieving students performed poorly on tests and developed a strong dislike for this teacher and did not want to talk to him about physics -- or anything else for that matter.
:-)
Dec 29, 2009, 03:49pm   #3
I think it was a good idea to tell about the teachers who did not live up to their responsibilities. It enabled you to give examples of how teachers who have lost the passion for teaching, cause students to lose some passion for learning.

...view while still being able to assert their opinions in a respectful manner...

I think passion is the most essential element in creating an effective...



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