05/01/2013 03:02 pm ET Updated Jul 01, 2013

Is Obedience the Key to Success?


So most students who yearn for a successful, stress-free life strive to pursue a safe path through high school, avoiding as much confrontation as possible and believing that what they are told to do in high school will bring them a "promised life" in the future. They dare not question the teachers about their teaching styles as any sign of objection results in bad grades. They take notes in class without much thinking through, hoping to ace the upcoming tests. Pretty much everyone does what he or she is told to do without much hesitation or reluctance with an exception of few.

Many of us are taught from the very beginning of our births that silence and unwavering obedience are the key to a successful life, a life we want to have in the future. But only a handful of schools teach us what it really means to succeed in the real world. When we really think about it, what we are taught seems right. After all, who wants to make enemies with the teachers by denouncing their authority? But will obedience and silence really bring us to where we want to be in the future?

I'm not saying that obedience should to be absolutely excluded from our learning process. Some degree of obedience is necessary for learning. Math and science, for instance, are subjects that are not as subjective as English and social studies. There is really no point of arguing with the teachers about who is right and wrong as there is only one solution to the problems. But no one really seems to question the logic behind math and how some equations we use in class came into use today. Because we are so contained in this let's-just-do-what-we-are-told-to-do mindset, we forget the real values of learning.

We -- students -- should be given debate lessons or Model United Nations experiences in classes, at least once a year. It should be a mandatory program. Some of us may not necessarily be outspoken like the others; however, learning to voice our thoughts and personal opinions will ultimately enhance our educational experiences. We don't have to speak ostentatiously or flamboyantly; we don't have to wear fancy suits or button-down shirts; we don't need a huge auditorium with hundreds of seats. All we need is the desire to better ourselves.

Many high schools in the world, both public and private, have debate clubs after school that allow students to express their thoughts about a topic in an unrestricted manner. In parliamentary debates, for instance, each speaker from both parties expresses his or her contentions in a given time. During crossfire, speakers are given permissions to ask intelligent and thoughtful questions. Until the last minute, the students constantly rebut and negate each other's arguments to prove a point.    

Debate is a whole new level of learning. It's not only about proving a point or going against each other's arguments. It is also about developing the students' ability to formulate the pros and cons of a matter, which is the real key to a successful life. A mindset that enables us to think for ourselves instead of having someone else do it for us makes us independent and stronger. Through debates and speaking, we learn how voice our opinions with an independent mind. A life that is governed by our thoughts and will is a successful life.  

If the pro and con mindset is the real way to get to where we want in the future, it is finally time for schools to say goodbye to the old learning scheme: obedience is the answer to a happy, successful life.