Infected by Opinion
Before Idulfitri holiday, I took my Environmental Management classes to a short tour around our school’s vicinity. Our school is practically in the middle of ‘nowhere’ as we are located in an industrial complex together with a university campus.
Outside the school, there are factories, toll roads, streams and slum area. I asked the students to take note, pictures, and allowed them to communicate with people living in the slum if they wanted to.
L: So what’s the main focus of your observation?
L: People living there (under tol Ancol) get diseases?
L: How do you know?
S: Well, we can see there’s a lot of trash in many places. Dirty water and polluted air. Jobless, uneducated.
L: Did you SEE them ill?
S: … No.
L: Did you ASK them about their revenue?
S: … No.
L: Then how do you know they’re uneducated, very poor, infected by diseases and have no job? Did you confirm or did you conclude that based on very limited observation?
S: A man was sleeping in a broad daylight on a bench, ma’am.
L: Is it possible that he has a job overnight?
S: … Yes.
L: Your presentation, is your opinion. What you saw, is a fact. You may make opinion based on what you saw, but it has to be a justified interpretation.
It is pretty much of a challenge to encourage the students to learn how to think. It is even a challenge for many adults. It would be much easier just to tell them what to do and how to do it. But that, would be a learning process in the simplest form: imitation.