Free-Will and Coercion: Own Educational Experience

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"It is in fact nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not yet entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry; for this delicate little plant; aside from stimulation, stands mainly in need of freedom; without this it goes to wreck and ruin without fail.  It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion and a sense of duty." ~ Albert Einstein  Firstly, I would like to introduce myself. My name is. I am 43-years-old. I am a mother, a partner, a daughter, a sister, a friend, a business owner, a craftsperson and many other things, including, as of this year, a university student. In this essay, I want to put forward the argument that a person is able to learn more easily and with greater depth when they are doing this learning of their own free-will, rather than because it is expected of them or because they are being coerced in some way. I will attempt to prove this point by defining the terms ‘free-will’ and ‘coercion’ and relating them to my own educational experience. I will then relate this to how my experience with these concepts in previous learning, and my subsequent world-view, has influenced my learning now. Free will is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the power of acting without the constraint of necessity or fate; the ability to act at one’s own discretion”. Coercion is defined by the Oxford Dictionary as “the action or practice of persuading someone to do something by using force or threats”. Another form of coercion is negative reinforcement which is defined by Merriam-Webster ( as “psychological reinforcement by removal of an unpleasant stimulus when a desired response occurs”. Obviously there can be different degrees of coercion, ranging from offering a child a lollipop if they do well with their reading at school, removal of a promised treat when work is not completed, to extreme abuse, verbal and/or physical. The...
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