Inquiry: Learning to Open the Mind

One of my favorite columns appears in Newsweek Magazine entitled The Last Word by Anna Quindlen. In a recent piece (May 30, 2005), “Life of the Closed Mind,” Qundlen is concerned that in recent years (after 9/11), America has become a country that sets its young people the terrible example of closed minds. What is needed, according to Quindlen, is to create more uncomfortable experiences in schools and colleges, such as “exploring new ideas, encountering people with different values, learning a new discipline’s way of thinking and having someone point out a flaw in one’s argument.” In teaching, the way to help people develop an open mind is through intellectual inquiry. As she points out, inquiry is: “Learning to ask: ‘Is that true? Maybe there’s something to what she just said. Let me think about it. That’s interesting. Maybe I should change my mind. I changed my mind.'” Teaching that follows this path is artful and courageous. What do you think?