A glance at modern pedagogy sheds light on a question that has long instigated dispute, that is, whether formal education a restriction to student\'s minds and spirits or not. Some people claim that formal education can only smother learners\'s free thinking. I partly agree with the statement, and I think it depends on different disciplines.
Foremost, the hallmarks of formal education entails closely following teacher\'s instructions, accomplishing assignments and preparing for exams. This can definitely impede student\'s minds where creative and critical thinking is expected, likes in arts and literature. For instance, I still remember when I was in primary school, all the students were required to draw the same thing in the same way in our art class. The teacher insisted that this is a way to teach us the most basic drawing skills, but my enthusiasm for painting was dampened. Similarly, in literature, students are expected to come up with their own understandings of a certain story or essay, instead of listening to the analysis from teachers and other critics.
What is more, formal education can be at odds with student\'s nature of exploring and playing sometimes. This is best illustrated by the education model adopted by most education institutes in my country, China, where students are required to seat quietly in their seats in a relatively crowded classroom, listening to their teachers with full attention. No other things is allowed. Even at high schools students have to follow the instructions from teachers in experiment classes, and nothing not included in the lecture is allowed, which can be devastating for scientific education. If students were not given the latitude to explore nature by their own, they would hardly have the siprits of questioning and finding answers in the future.
Nonetheless, formal education can also be condusive in a sense. At early age, formal education privides students with basic and essential knowledge for further study systematically. This partly proffer an answer to the outstanding performance of Chinese students in math tests compared to their international counterparts. The conquence is conspicuous: an increasing number of Chinese university students are studying statistics and financing these days, which can be lucrative and can drive social mobility. Fundamental knowledge are best taught in formal ways, preventing the disarray of letting students do what they want to.
Due to aforementioned ground, formal education can be harmful for student\'s minds when critical and independent thinking are needed. In these circumstances, less restrications from teachers should be imposed on students. Meanwhile, crucial knowledge for future study are best conveyed by teachers and absorbed by students firmally, in a way that organization and regulation is preserved.