The Need for Disagreement and Alternative Perspectives
As human beings, we all feel happy and fulfilled when we find others who agree with our point of view on issues and topics. If we write an article or give a speech and someone praises us for it, it is a wonderful feeling. We all love to hear for others to tell us how good we are, how great our speech was, or how awesome an article that we wrote was. Perhaps, one can argue that we are wired to want “yes men” around us.
Yet, the path to growth and development does not exist without disagreeing points of view to ours. Nobody grows if his present perspective or point of view isn’t challenged – either by himself or by others. Yes; we learn, grow and develop when others are able to disagree with us, question our point of view, and/or present alternative perspectives to those that we hold and live by.
Many of the discoveries, inventions and innovations that have brought huge benefits to us were possible because of alternative perspectives. Sometimes those perspectives came by accident (Isaac Newton and the apple). Sometimes we got them after intense debates that took years (the shape of the earth).
It isn’t always comfortable when we have our long-held beliefs questioned. It sometimes grates to have our authority questioned. Yet, without constant questioning, we would make no progress. We would stand on one spot, year in, year out. This is why disagreements and alternative perspectives are vital to learning and to education. Students should be allowed the freedom to question and to disagree. In order to develop the brightest of minds, students need the freedom to propose and push alternative perspectives to issues and problems. It is how we got this far. It is how we will make all the progress that humanity has in store for it in the future.