Students Should Filter the Political Leanings of Instructors


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

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As we enter the contentious first term of President Donald Trump, it is important to look back on the societal factors that led us to this result. Students at MSU should reflect on their roles in the election, especially considering that college students continually have low interests in national elections. Steps should be taken to bring us into the normal voting population. One area that should be addressed is the role instructors have in shaping young adult perspectives.

Professors often express their political views in the classroom, creating mixed responses from students who now have to deal with another perspective of unknown authority. This can create confusion or annoyance in students who are already uninterested in politics, continuing current trends. In order to begin overcoming the low voting percentages of young adults, it is time for instructors to display less of their political leanings in the classroom. Moreover, students should process the opinions of instructors thoughtfully and analytically, filtering opinions from words to reasoning.

College professors generally lean more liberal on the political spectrum. This can create a situation where professors feel more comfortable sharing their opinions as objective truths. Less informed students are then more inclined to adopt these perspectives, somewhat without choice.

Instructors should not be expected to display a lack of political awareness. However, instructors should use judgement in the manner in which these opinions are exhibited. Students will be much more receptive to these views when a discussion on modern politics is relevant to the course or lecture. Receptiveness is paramount in the sharing of political views, as a lack of receptiveness leads to the alienation of those with alternate viewpoints or boring those who avoid them. Ideally, instructors should share their views only in settings where students can respond with their own opinions, to avoid misunderstanding and create genuine discussion. In most lecture settings, though, professors should simply avoid bias altogether.

Nonetheless, instructors continue to display bias in lectures. Therefore, students must stay vigilant. They should always question the validity of the assertions made in class. I have had an instructor make a few assertions that turned out to be merely conspiracy theories once I did some research. Cross-checking information is important in all aspects of life, especially in the era of fake news. This would create a pattern of awareness and interest in politics.

There are downsides to the creation of informed political discourse. However, each course is a different opportunity for instructors to give their opinions about current events. While instructors may feel they have an obligation to share their views, they should do so sparingly and make it known that there is bias. Students should take every opportunity their instructors give them to learn about politics and develop perspectives of their own, so the trends of low voter participation in the youth can be reversed.

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