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GRE Issue Essay - Educators Should Teach Facts Only After Their Students Have Studied The Ideas - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “Educators should teach facts only after their students have studied the ideas, trends, and concepts that help explain those facts. Write a response in which you discuss the extent to which you agree or disagree with the recommendation and explain your reasoning for the position you take. In developing and supporting your position, describe specific circumstances in which adopting the recommendation would or would not be advantageous and explain how these examples shape your position.”
I agree that educators should teach facts only after their students have studied the ideas, trends, and concepts that help explain those facts, because students tend to understand better if they study the ideas, trends and concepts that help explain those facts first, rather than passively accepting facts. In addition, this can also help students develop the ability of critical thinking.
First of all, encouraging students to study the ideas, trends and concepts that help explain those facts first can make students really understand the knowledge better rather than passively receiving facts. If educators always teach students facts, students tend to passively accept these information, and they may not question why these facts are true. Further, they do not know how scientists and philosophers came up with these “facts”. Students can easily learn facts from teachers, and this may potentially discourage students to spend more time on asking “why?”.
Secondly, by studying the ideas, trends and concepts that help explain those facts, students can think critically. If educators ask students to study the ideas, trends, and concepts first, they can actively reason and hopefully make their own conclusions. Therefore, this can help students understand facts better. Active thinking can also encourage students to challenge these facts. If the conclusion drawn by a students is different from the fact taught by the teacher, then, this would encourage the student to find out why, and the student may end up acquiring more knowledge.
However, the process suggested in the statement is more time consuming, and sometimes it may be hard for students to summarize with limited amount of knowledge, too. Especially, teachers need to cover certain amount of materials during limited course periods, thus even though the statement proposes a good teaching method, it is not practical to apply for all knowledge. Thus, I think it may be better to teach students some facts, in addition, teachers can ask students to study the ideas, trend and concepts that help explain facts first, and then teach facts. In this way, it may be more practical for educators to adopt this teaching method.
Overall, I agree that educators should teach facts after their students have studied the ideas, trends, and concepts that help explain those facts, but in order to make this teaching method more practical, educators should apply this teaching method for some knowledge, but also teach some facts in a straightforward way, too.
For the most part your claims are reasonable. One exception is your argument that what you call "active thinking" can "encourage students to challenge ... facts." That seems an odd claim to me, and generally of course teachers will only want students to challenge possible explanations of facts, not facts themselves. But even though most of your other claims seem reasonable enough, your meaning generally does not come across clearly enough because your essay as a whole is too abstract; you don't illustrate any of your claims with examples. Although you always need to establish reasons for the positions you adopt in these kinds of essays, you also often need illustrative examples, and you especially need them when faced with the instructions that accompany this particular prompt ("describe specific circumstances" / "explain how these examples shape your position"). You haven't really imagined any specific circumstances here in which it might be a good idea to postpone learning facts. You need to ask yourself, for instance, are there any specific circumstances (primary school history class; graduate level quantum mechanics class?) in which it is appropriate for students to learn facts before theories?
Perhaps the best approach would be to look at a specific theory (evolution, say, or relativity, or whatever you are familiar with) and think about the advantages or disadvantages of either approach.