Most teachers agree that skills and content are important components for a quality education. Debate erupts over which is more important. Some argue that teaching a person how to think should be the primary focus. Others argue that teaching content knowledge is more worthwhile. In the middle of this debate are the students who have very passionate ideas of what the purpose of school should be.
When students hear the mantra “You can make a difference in the world,” there’s often an eye-roll. Students struggle to see how the actions of a few can have big consequences for the many. The fallout of this attitude is that many won’t decide to participate in that school-wide fundraiser, start that club or vote in the next election. The impulse to remain apathetic is strong but, as Mead reminds us, it just takes a different way of thinking to liberate us to act.