Argumentative Essay on School

There’s a question I’ve been hearing a lot lately. ‘Why should we have video games in school?’ There are many reasons, but I’m only going to talk about one. The one I think is the biggest and most important one. Videogames empower agency.

Agency is you controlling your life. The knowledge that the decision you made was completely your choice and will impact yours and/or other’s lives. Kids need that. They need to feel like they’re in control and matter in the grand scheme of things. Otherwise, they end up just scraping by, making as little effort as possible to make it through each day, if any. I’ve seen them.

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I’ve been one due to my constant moving around, unable to control where I ended up. It feels empty and hollow, and I hated it. There was something that kept me sane. Videogames. There, I could make my choices.

Even in the most linear games, it still felt like I was doing something and was in charge. Even in failure, I had a choice. ‘Do I stop now, or keep trying?’ After one such failure in my favorite game, I realized something. ‘Why don’t I ask myself this question more often?’ It was summer. The year before, I had gotten one A, two B’s, a few C’s, a D and an F. At the end of the next school year, I got all A’s and B’s for both semesters.

Some people are going to read this and think ‘a videogame changed your life? Really?’ Yes. Yes it did. Art has changed lives. Books have changed lives. Movies have changed lives.

Why not a videogame? I felt like nothing I did mattered before. Like all of my choices all ended in ‘this was going to happen anyway.’ Now I realize that it doesn’t matter where I am, but what I do when I get there. I’m not the only kid who’s gone through this, and this is nowhere near the only scenario in which this happens. A kid living in poverty might not feel that he can get the same education opportunities as other kids. A bullied kid might not feel they have the power to do something with themselves.

Someone with controlling or pampering parents might not feel they’d know what to do even if they had to. Schools already teach kids that they can do whatever they want with their lives, but the current method of education is bashing you over the head with the same point over and over again. There are good teachers that try to deviate from this, but with a kid having, depending on the district, about fifty-five different teachers before they graduate from high school, most of them are going to go by the book. Games teach agency in a way that you don’t even realize you’re learning it. It becomes instinct to take control of your life.

I’m not saying replace the current education system with videogames, far from it. Teachers are far too important to replace with a machine. A good teacher can help students find themselves or inspire their students. If we paired videogames with the guiding hand of a teacher, so many new paths will be open to everyone, just because they played a few videogames in school.