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GRE Issue: Learning Is Primarily A Matter Of Personal Discipline - With A Free Essay Review
Prompt: “Learning is primarily a matter of personal discipline; students cannot be motivated by school or college alone. 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.”
I agree with the statement that learning is primarily a matter of personal discipline, and students cannot be motivated by schools or colleges alone, because students learn for themselves; they can only learn effectively if they are self-motivated, and external forces such as schools cannot effectively make students to learn.
To begin with, I think learning is primarily a matter of personal discipline, and a person can only learn effectively and efficiently if he is self-motivated or he wants to learn, because no one can watch a student all the time, if the student himself is not self-disciplined, then, no one can guarantee that he will learn when he is alone. For instance, a student who does not like maths might learn at school and stop learning after he walks out of classroom. A student will eventually be out of college, and at the time, no one is responsible for whether he is learning or not, and it solely depends on the person himself. If a student is self-disciplined, he will make time to read books or learn other knowledge automatically. Since we are watching ourselves most of the time, and learning is a life-long process that no one can keep on eye on us and force us to learn forever, I agree that learning is primarily a matter of self-discipline.
In addition, I think external forces such as schools and parents cannot effectively motivate students to learn. For instance, a student who does not like English literature is required to take the course in college. In this case, the school may successfully make the student to learn and encourage the student to learn, however, since the student really does not like the course, it is possible that he will just sit in the classroom passively or even fall asleep and learns nothing after all. Further, if a student is forced to learn the subject he really does not like, forcing him to take the course can possibly make the student dislike the subject even more. Besides, even if schools do not force students, but no matter what schools choose to do, eventually, students need to be self-motivated, and willing to learn, otherwise, it would not be effectively. In addition, as mentioned earlier, students will not stay in school forever, when they are out of schools, no one is responsible for motivating students to learn anymore, and students need to be independent. Therefore, I think students cannot be motivated by school or college alone.
However, in the case, a student does not show any preference on a specific subject, then, it is possible that schools can introduce subjects to them in an interesting way and help them develop their interests. Even in this case, students need to be self-motivated after all.
To sum up, I agree that learning is primarily a matter of personal discipline, and students cannot be motivated by schools or colleges alone, because students learn for themselves and learning is a lifelong process that no one can only keep on track of their learning. In addition, learning can only be effectively if they are self-motivated, and external forces such as schools may make students to learn, but, it would no be effectively.
While it is true that no one can reasonably be expected to "watch a student all the time" there are ways, nonetheless, for a teacher constantly to be a presence, so to speak, in a student's mind. And while it is true that "no one can guarantee that a student will learn when he is alone," one can certainly adopt certain pedagogical strategies (carrots and sticks) that increase the chances of the student learning when he is alone, whether he is self-motivated or not.
Your third paragraph deals with the possibility of a school requiring students to take literature courses. This is not really an example of an external force trying to motivate students (that task is left up to the teachers of the required courses). And, since you’ve mentioned it twice, I should point out that I think pointing out that students are not in school forever is really beside the point, since the claim is really about whether schools or colleges can motivate students who don't have self-discipline.
Your penultimate paragraph is a fairly weak attempt (is this becoming a habit?) to look at the other side of the argument. The issue again here is whether schools or colleges can motivate students who are not self-disciplined. It seems to me one cannot really address that issue fully without considering the ways that schools and colleges actually try to motivate students. In other words, you need to consider the efficacy of such motivational tools as institutionalized censure and blame.