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GRE Issue 42: Students Should Always Question What They Are Taught - With A Free Essay Review



Students should always question what they are taught instead of accepting it passively. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the statement and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, you should consider ways in which the statement might or might not hold true and explain how these considerations shape your position.

The statement claims that students should always question what they are taught instead of accepting it passively. It is true that accepting what they learn passively is detrimental to students since they can hardly improve their ability of critical thinking. However, in some cases, if students always question what they are taught, it seems a waste of time because with lack of basic knowledge and rich experience, their questions might be puerile and even ridiculous.

Questioning what they are taught has some favorable influences on students’ learning. Skepticism could help students understand deeply and motivate them to think further to some extent. Even though their skepticism about what they learn is often wrong, they finally will understand why they are wrong and thus deepen their understanding of some knowledge. Take me for example. As a graduate student majoring in computer science, I always question the knowledge professors impart to me, especially the knowledge of algorithms. Why is this algorithm the best solution to this kind of problem? Or I think that there is another solution which is much better than the solution the professor gives. After questioning what I am taught, I always do large amounts of experiment on the computer and refer to plenty of books about algorithms. Despite the fact that I am always wrong, I learn a lot and fully understand these algorithms. Consequently, unlike some students who accept the knowledge of computer science passively, I always get higher grades than these students. Thus, questions about what teachers teach is likely to assist students to get full comprehension.

In addition, doubting something they learn, students can improve their critical thinking ability and cultivate their creativity. The greatest scientist, Einstein, is an excellent example of this point. When he was young, he questioned what he had learned. He even wondered if he could move at a fast speed, the same as light speed, what he would see and experience. Due to his spirit of skepticism, he finally broke the fetters of three laws of motion, establishing the groundbreaking theory of relativity. Without skepticism, Albert Einstein could not have become an eminent scientist who greatly promoted the development of physics. Thus, questioning what they are taught, students can not only cultivate their creativity, but also improve the ability of critical thinking.

By contrast, in some cases, students, especially those junior students who have little basic knowledge, should not always question what they learn. Without fundamental knowledge, the questions students put forward are likely to be simple and naïve. For instance, when I was a kid, I always put forward some absurd questions, such as why the denotation “+” represented plus or why the word “kid” meant us instead of our parents. As you can see, these questions did not improve my critical thinking ability but made me swamp in unnecessary puzzlements.

In conclusion, the answers to statement are various under different circumstances. On the one hand, if students with fundamental knowledge doubt what they are taught, they can often benefit from this action. On the other hand, with lack of basic knowledge, students’ question will seem a little bit absurd.

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ESSAY REVIEW

Your essay does a better job of explaining the beneficial results of questioning than of explaining why the questioning might be necessary in itself. One reason to question what we are taught is that the process of questioning is itself an important element of critical thinking. For that reason, of course, teachers, of certain courses, teach students how to question and the value of questioning. One of course should never question the teacher who teaches the value of questioning because you’ll get caught up in a self-referential paradox, which are very depressing things to get caught up in, although not so depressing as infinite loops. Another reason to question what we are taught is that the teacher might be wrong or might be presenting a view that is misleading or tendentious. That probably doesn’t happen a lot in computer science, but it happens often enough in other disciplines.

I’m rambling. Sorry.

Your second paragraph is pretty good. You devote three sentences to explaining how questioning can contribute to one’s depth of understanding before getting to your example. That gives you enough space to articulate a fairly solid reason for valuing questioning. The next paragraph, however, is an instance of a problem I’ve mentioned before: allowing the example to carry the burden of argument. You should try to explain how students can improve their critical thinking and creativity without the the help of the example first, and then provide an example to help clarify your general argument.

Your final paragraph is brief and underdeveloped. The basic idea here is that questioning can waste time, which is true. More generally, if it becomes an ingrained habit to question everything, the student can be paralysed by skepticism. That kind of paralysis doesn’t just affect naive children.

Best, EJ.
Submitted by: hahaxiao66
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