Saturday, July 23, 2011

On the Fence: Looking at Both Sides

            People are entitled to their own opinions, but sometimes, some people forget that there are other opinions because of how strongly they feel about their own.  In order for people to become well-balanced individuals, they need to be able to at least understand both sides of an issue, even if they have a preference.  This way, they can better comprehend the issue itself.  If people are looking at an issue from one point of view, they are not in a position to debate about it because chances are, they probably will not have a full understanding of the issue.  People who look at both sides, on the other hand, are in fact more open-minded because they do not simply deny that the other opinion exists, but instead, they use that information to fuel their knowledge about an issue.  After considering my own experiences, I realized that I am the type of person who likes to sit on the fence when it comes to deciding on sides for a certain issue.  I think that it gives me a huge advantage to see both sides of an issue first, because it gives me a chance to reflect and consider my own feelings about the issue before making a final decision.
            During our debate, I was grateful for my teammates because we discussed both sides of the issue, which was state testing.  I had preconceived notions before discussing this issue with my teammates, but after discussing the positive aspects of state testing, I felt like I went away with a better understanding of the problems and advantages of state testing.  Aside from that, it prepared us as a team for the debate because it gave us a chance to talk about counter arguments that we could potentially use if the group brought up a valid argument.  During the debate, I found myself nodding in agreement with the other group’s points because it made sense and they were valid arguments.  In the end, I felt like I learned more about state testing because I was able to see both sides of the spectrum.
            In teaching students from different backgrounds, it is important to remember that most likely, the students will come in the classroom with opinions based on their family’s values or culture.  Teachers need to learn to respect that instead of drilling what they believe to be correct in their students’ minds.  By addressing the issue in a way that the students can see both ends of the issue, they will be able to grasp the concept more, which can help them make their own decision about the issue.  Aside from that, teachers need to remember that because of the diversities in the classrooms, the parents of the students have different goals for their children as well.  We need to keep in mind that in the end, parents want the “best” education possible for their children, so it is good to be well informed about the different issues in education because it is likely for them to ask the teacher for more information about it.  By looking at the bigger picture and understanding the different issues in great depth, teachers and parents alike will be able to deal with issues more efficiently.


  1. I agree with your feelings about viewing both sides, and hearing each other out. I too find myself on the fence a lot over particular issues. I was in the pro-bilingual education group and I found the task quite stressful because we kept coming up with “the other sides” counter arguments that seemed valid and we had to stay “true” to our argument.
    I believe it is not just hearing the other side, nor understanding the other side, but respecting it. There are many arguments we may not understand, be it because the person may be coming from completely different life experiences, but as long as they argue their points well, the person(s) should be respected and the argument(s) should be respected and considered to be a valid option.

  2. I really like the way you brought up respecting that parents may have different goals for their children than we do, and that we need to educate children but also respect different backgrounds and values. I think it can be a temptation for some teachers to use their classroom as a sort of podium from which to tout their own ideas about the world, but it is much more beneficial to everyone (the teacher included) if the teacher considers himself or herself a learner along with the students, and tries to learn from the students’ perspectives too.