Hi, I have my lnat in a few weeks and I would really appreciate some feedback on this practice essay I did. Thank in advance!
Title: Should the educational system work to instil national values into students? Why or why not?
Essay: Teaching national values and beliefs to children in schools would undoubtedly create a more patriotic cohort of young people. In itself, patriotism can hardly be argued to be corrupting, it provides people with a sense of unity and an aim to improve their country and themselves, as they strive to reach their patriotic values. However, we must be cautious as patriotism can very quickly become synonymous with nationalism, which can soon transform into the toxic belief that ones race or country is superior to others. Hence, whilst it is important that national values and beliefs are taught in schools, instilling them into children from a young age is dangerous and become a gateway for a nationalistic future.
Introducing a larger focus on national values in schools would not necessarily be entirely detrimental. It would almost certainly instil a sense of patriotism into the young people, which would allow them to feel as if they are part of a wider community, untied together under the same beliefs, which would likely encourage social cohesion and peace. We can see the effects of patriotism by simply looking at a game of football, everyone rooting for and wishing for the same outcome. Imagine if this could be replicated in society, or perhaps politicis. Patriotism unites people under a common aim and brings them together, to overcome any issues and strive to develope the nation in a positive and productive manner. Hence, teaching children about national values in schools could be advantageous, however the negative impacts must also be recognised, which i will be addressing later in the essay.
Teaching national values would also encourage people to fight to improve their country, as well as themselves, and to aim for change if they feel as it something could be improved. For example, let us consider one of the main national values of the UK, democracy. Democracy is built upon freedom and equality and gives all citizens of the United Kindgom the opportunity to express themselves and have a say in how the country will be run. It also allow citizens to protest and petition if they desire change, all with the aim to improve the nation for the benefit of the people. In this way, teaching children national values could be highly beneficial, however we have to be careful that this is not overdone as it can easily become extreme.
For example, Patriotism and Nationalism can look very similar, and rapidly one can transform into the other. Whilst patriotism focuses on having a respect for your country and its values and beliefs, nationalism is built on the fundamental belief that your country or race is superior to others. Evidently, this can lead to many issues, both on a national and international scale. Whilst extreme, the obvious example to look at is Nazi Germany. A society largely indoctrinated with the view that the Aryian Race was superior and others should face horrific consequences. Part of the way in which the Nazis indoctrinated their youth was through education, where they instilled a sense of patriotism and nationalism into children through schools and groups such as Hitler Youth, demonstrating just how dangerous instilling national views into young people can be.
Hence, it is clear, that instilling national values into children in schools can be dangerous as it creates enmity not only between nations but also between people. Whilst it can also bring about some benefits, we must be cautious with our approach, and therefore would it not be more advantageous to teach students about national values and allow them to choose how they wish to interpret it, rather than instilling them into them at a very young and impressionable age.