So many students, whether they be in elementary school, high school, or even college baccalaureate degrees learn by rote. (Usually not until students enter advanced degree programs, e.g., masters and doctorate, do they have to think for themselves.) It's a matter of survival when reaching for those lofty goals.
Teachers do their students a great disfavor by not making any real effort to teach them to think for themselves. Incompetent teachers often blame their failure on work loads that they perceive to be too heavy. Too often this is true of those who are just plain, damn lazy.
Therefore, as adults, so many people continue along the same route of not being able to think for themselves. They never learned to ask two of the most important questions that are critical to those learning how to think for themselves. Those two questions are . . . Why? and Why not?
Beginning at a relatively young age, e.g., middle school and high school, students need to be taught that no subject should be sacrosanct or forbidden when asking questions that put them on the road of learning to think for themselves. Obviously some questions can be out of bounds for students deemed to be too young for some particular subjects.
Questioning religious dogma or beliefs are sensitive to an extreme for some faiths, teachers, parents, clergy, et cetera. This is especially true with regard to most fundamentalist faiths. The Roman Catholic Church falls into this category. People of any age, when learning how to think for themselves, need to know that any organized religion should not be put above the need and right of an individual to ask questions.
Following is quoted from an unknown source. It is probably only of marginal relevance to this post. However, I choose to include it here.
Science is answers that must always be questioned.
Philosophy is questions that may never be answered.
Religion is answers that must never be questioned.
Politics is answers that lobbyists pay for.
For example, always question your physicians when you do not understand what they say to you. This is one of those science is answers that must always be questioned. Along with other relevant questions, ask Why? and Why not? Some doctors don't like to be challenged and can come across with a supercilious attitude. Stick to your guns. What is pertinent to you benefits your thinking process and quite possibly your wellbeing.
Question your clergy and/or lay people. Even though religion is answers that must never be questioned, if you think about the answers (often non-answers) given, then you may decide this ain't the place for you.
I know a philosophy professor emeritus who can beat the hell out of those who decide to argue philosophy with him. Unless you are his intellectual equal he can twist your tail into a knot. He is a firm believer in the maxim that philosophy is questions that may never be answered.
Then we have politics which is based on decisions paid for by lobbyists. Truth is of no consequence. The politicians are rarely ever to be trusted unless one is in a position of being able to provide something in return. Having said this, I iterate that politics is answers that lobbyists pay for.
It is crucial for one to be able to think of his or her own. A rarity in today's environment of voting on a candidate's charisma and personality.
This could go on forever. I am not in a mood to do so. Forgive my ramble.
Never forget to ask . . . Why? and Why not?. You'll be the one to benefit.