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It has been argued that education has a formidable “alienating power”. However, this issue of “alienating power” of education and the notion that a student’s inclusion in the world of academia leads to exclusion from the familiar world of family and neighborhood friends is a complete myth and it is untrue. The focal point of this essay is to refute the view that the pursuit of academic achievement promotes social isolation. The reason is simple. Education actually evokes social influence and not alienate from society. Thus, an educated individual becomes more receptive and inclusive towards society. This approach is clearly in opposition to the argument of “alienating power” thus education does not alienate people.
Education is the tool by which individual decisions and opinions are influenced by the setting that one is in. Education helps to grow logical reasoning and with this logical reasoning one can easily influence the other. Education ranges from simple to complex decisions and opinions made by an individual. Being human beings, who consequently interact with other human beings, one’s perspective, opinions and choices are bound to be influenced by the people around. There are several instances of social influence with help of education. Majority of the people always side with the majority whereas the minority, in any given case, is regarded as the opposition and outcasts. Social influence by education is exhibited as peer influence. In his book, Wren (1999) has discussed social influence of education in details. Leadership, conformity, obedience have all been listed as cases where social influence of education is at its best.
Leadership happens to be one of the way through which human beings conform to social influence through education. Leadership can be viewed in any situation to influence the decisions of the followers. Followers have always been influenced by the leader not only to conform to their opinions but also to assimilate their thoughts and finally make choices that resemble the leader’s choices. Any good leader has to be well educated in order to be influential. Leaders are used to mobilize people in a given setting in to follow a certain path or opinion. In numerous cases, leaders always influence the decisions and opinions of the people. Power and leadership play a similar role in influencing people (Wren, 74). For instance in politics, leadership has for ling been seen as a major driver in the kind of choices made by majority of the voters. Power and leadership influences the masses to vote in favor of a certain politician hence forcing some of the people to change their intended votes in favor of the powerful politician. Likewise, a teacher can influence the student’s opinions, thought, beliefs and practices. In more than one cases, the leader, influences the people’s opinions and choices. The interpersonal communication skills of a leader or teacher itself are a prime example that the educated person (leader or teacher) is capable of include the society by understanding the need of the other, who is a part of the society.
Power on the other hand can force people to conform to set rules and regulation as well as influence people’s decisions and this too arise from education. This is the point where role models and celebrities come in to play. Majority of the people may change their dressing, thinking, talking and general behavior in reference to a role model or a celebrity (Argyle, 114). Psychologically, this is a normal behavior since majority of the people’s personalities are built in accordance to a pre-existing role model or leader. Another incidence where leadership comes into play is the government. In various incidences, the government influences the people’s behavior and opinions through a number of ways. The first way is through setting of laws and regulations that the people have to abide to. Secondly, the government or the society may come up with suggestions through establishment of certain policies that are appealing to the members such as financial policies set to improve people’s financial status (Schueler, 89).
The influence asserted by power and leadership is seen to have an effect on people. Mostly, the decisions made by the people are most likely not the intended or what they had planned for. Change of one’s voting choice is an evident mistake that the people make as a result of social political influence for instance in an election. These changes in decisions however do not affect the person badly. Secondly, changes in people’s normal practices such as financial decisions are in times in favor to the person and are thus of beneficial purposes for the person. However, the regulatory laws and set practices limit people’s behavioral traits. This is a deprivation of personal freedom, but the people have to conform to it. The change of one’s behavior in this example however does not adversely affect the person and thus does not require professional intervention.
Again, peer pressure leads to a change in a person’s behavior and creates a completely new personality for the person. For instance it changes the kind of music one listens too, the movies he or she watches and his or her beliefs. Cognitively, the thinking and perception are also changed by peer pressure. In some incidences, it has even led to people changing the religious believes. Peer pressure has also seen the teens result in hating their parents on the basis that the parents maybe depriving the teen freedom since the person’s friends are given more freedom than them. Defiance is also a common result of peer pressure. Be it at home or at schools, breaking the set rules is common among teenagers. This results in broken families, hatred and adverse effects on the individual such as expulsion from school and some long term effects.
At times, the effects of this influence demand psychiatric and counseling intervention to change the person. Indulgence in drugs just to fit in countless cases has resulted to addiction in the long last. Catharsis is the most likely cause of this indulgence in drugs and destructive activities. This is a problem that has in most cases resulted in long time problems that affect the person for a long time. Rehabilitation is the only possible cure for such addictions. Other long term effects that affect an individual include imprisonment and torn up lives.
In conclusion, it should be noted that besides leadership, power and peer pressure, there are other cases where education includes the society. For instance marketing and advertising have been seen to influence people preferences and choices and this only possible as a learned person understands the social context through education and is able to include the society within the understanding. Advertising influences personal decisions on purchases made. Obedience is also another incidence where social influence plays a major role. If more people defy, an individual is likely to defy and the opposite is also true. Social influence through education plays a key role in shaping ones behavior. Since human beings are social beings, it is completely difficult to avoid social influence though any given individual can manage it. Thus, education is actually a socially influencing power and not an alienating power.
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