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Argument 221 - With A Response On How To Prepare For The GRE Essay Tasks
The following appeared in the editorial section of a student newspaper. "In a recent survey, most students who were studying beginning Russian gave higher course-evaluation ratings to classes taught by non-native Russian speakers than to classes taught by native Russian speakers. The reason that the non-native speakers were better teachers of Russian is easy to see: the non-native speakers learned Russian later in life themselves, and so they have a better understanding of how the language can be taught effectively. Therefore, in order to improve instruction for all languages and also save money, our university should hire non-native speakers as language instructors instead of trying to find and recruit native speakers."
After I read this argument, four major mistakes are found.
The first one is the author fail to show us how did the survey carry on. How many students are participating the survey? What's the percentage of students that favor non-native Russian speakers as their instructor? What kind of questions are included? Is any question used biased word to influence subjects' choice? How broad is the sample? Does it pick students randomly? All the answers to the above question are just remained to unknown. In that case, we are unlikely to take the survey as a strong reason to support the author's conclusion.
Next, even if we take the survey as a valid one, we can hardly deduce that non-native speakers who are rated higher have definitely better teaching skills or capability than those native speakers. In other words, higher rating is not the exact same thing as better teaching. The author made a mistake that there is no other rival causes other than merely better teaching that leads to higher rating. However, obviously other haphazerd elements are likely to involved, like the personality of the teachers.
Another misassumption assumes that the later one learns a foreign language, the better one get understanding of that. It can be one possible explanation yet other consequences also frequently occure. Only by the evidence showed in the above argument, it's impossible to exclude other possibility that results from starting late learning a foreign language.
The final mistake made by the author is, that learning German is similar with learning other languages. The conclusion is only supported by the survey sepecially for German language learning students. Without doubt, such kind of generalization is too overstated. We have no idea what the quality of other languages learning class, whether the non-native speaker really does a more excellent job than native one. The conclusion, therefore, needs more evidence to convince the readers.
This essay has been flagged for deletion because its primary issue is the number of language errors. Unfortunately, we cannot address that issue on this site. If you wish to undertake a review of English grammar and mechanics, you may find Purdue University's OWL helpful: http://owl.english.purdue.edu/owl/section/1/
Please also note the following
1. We cannot meaningfully review a GRE essay without knowing the instructions that accompany the prompt, which we were unable to locate. This essay is not in the current GRE argument pool.
2. Because this essay is not in the current pool, it is not advisable for you to spend time working on it. The current argument and issue pools of essays can be found at the following urls.
3. Here are a few things in response to your question below that you can do to prepare:
a) Work on improving your mastery of English grammar
b) Practice quickly proofreading your essays for the specific types of errors that tend to occur in your writing
c) Read many essays and reviews on this site. (Most are from the last two months; see the first several pages under “Browse All”.)
e) Write many practice essays but pay particular attention to the following:
Practice writing sentences that respond explicitly to specific instructions. I.e., practice writing sentences that include explicit statements about evidence that is needed, or questions that need to be answered, or ways in which a statement might hold true, or assumptions that an argument makes; practice writing sentences that include explicit statements about how specific evidence, or specific answers to questions, or specific assumptions (if unwarranted), or specific considerations or examples inform your position on an issue or argument.
f) It follows from the previous point that you should practice each type of essay (i.e., at least one essay for each different form of instruction)
g) Read every prompt from the ETS pools. Ideally, in the exam, you should already know the relevant issues for each prompt. Pay close attention to those that seem very easy (you are probably missing something) and those that seem very difficult (because either you are missing something, or they are difficult).
h) In the exam, pay attention to the specific instructions; they may be different from those associated with the prompt on the ETS site.