ACT Writing Essay Sample: Experiential Education
Write a unified, coherent essay in which you evaluate multiple perspectives on experiential education. In your essay, be sure to:
-analyze and evaluate the perspectives given
-state and develop your own perspective on the issue
-explain the relationship between your perspective and those given
Your perspective may be in full agreement with any of the others, in partial agreement, or wholly different. Whatever the case, support your ideas with logical
reasoning and detailed, persuasive examples.
Planning Your Essay
Use the space below and on the back cover to generate ideas and plan your essay. You may wish to consider the following as you think critically about the task:
Strengths and weaknesses of the three given perspectives
-What insights do they offer, and what do they fail to consider?
-Why might they be persuasive to others, or why might they fail to persuade?
Your own knowledge, experience, and values
-What is your perspective on this issue, and what are its strengths and weaknesses?
-How will you support your perspective in your essay?
Experiential education is a philosophy which recommends that students learn best through direct experience. Hands-on learning is said to promote deeper understanding because students are able to apply concepts and theories to physical situations. Rather than memorizing facts, students who are given the opportunity to create physical evidence of logical reasoning are better-equipped to apply the same reasoning to new situations. Since all teachers aim to impart critical thinking in their classrooms, should they be expected to provide more hands-on learning opportunities? As educators aim to continuously improve the quality of the education they offer to students, consideration should be given to better incorporating hands-on learning.
Read and carefully consider these perspectives. Each suggests a particular approach regarding experiential education.
Some argue that to accept a theory without experiencing it is to learn nothing at all. Teachers need to provide opportunities for experiential involvement if they expect students to truly comprehend each lesson plan.
Experiential education is an integral part of readying students to pursue careers in the science, technology, engineering, and math fields, but not all disciplines. If students are expected to perform skill-based tasks in these fields after they graduate, they should be provided a strong foundation on which to build their careers. But teachers should not be expected to supply experiential learning where it is not appropriate.
Schools cannot be expected to offer hands-on learning for students. Not only is it costly, but also it may not be effective for all learners. Students will be better served if schools invest their money in other educational models and opportunities.
Teachers often tell us that learning is fun, and the best way to convince us that learning is enjoyable is to give us activities that keep us engaged (and awake.) The issue here is if teachers should provide more hands-on learning experiences because it helps all students learn and remember better. On the other hand, others say that it's possible to learn without doing and that schools should use their money for other educational purposes and not try to make everything hands-on learning. I agree that the best learning comes from hands-on work.
I know from experience that I learn better when I can actually do something myself. When students do projects such as growing plants, they really learn about the science because they are part of making that science work. This is analogous to learning how to ride a bike. A child can read about it, watch videos on it and even watch someone actually ride a bike, but he doesn't learn how to do it until he gets on a bike and pedals away. Thus it is important that teacher provide opportunities for students to do as much hands-on learning as possible. However, those who think that students don't learn anything unless they actually do it are wrong. There are ideas that can't be experimented with. How can students recreate the Big Bang, or evolution? But just because they can't actually do this doesn't mean students don't learn. There is a lot that can be learned from reading and learning from experts. However, if there is a choice between learning by doing and not having that opportunity, learning by doing is the best way to teach and learn.
On the other hand, other people think that experiential education is important only for students who will work in a career that requires that they do things themselves, such as engineering and technology. It is important that students who will enter careers which are skill-based have the opportunity to practice this in school. School is supposed to teach what is needed for students later in life, and knowing how to do experiments or re-create what others have done should be part of this. But the people who argue for this say it is important only for students who will need it in their future careers. This means that some students, particularly those who don't know what career they want, will not get the benefit of hands-on experiences. That splits students into two groups; those who learn by doing and those who don't. All students learn well by doing, so it would not be fair to offer it only to some students. How can teachers know what is appropriate for students in their future careers if even the students don't yet know? This solution is not a good one because it assumes things that can't be supported.
Finally, it is shortsighted to argue that rather than create opportunities for hands-on learning, schools should spend their money on other things because learning by doing is expensive and may not be good for all students. There's always the problem that not all students learn in the same way so there's no one kind of learning that is best for everyone. But that doesn't mean teachers shouldn't provide hands on opportunities. Actually, this is a good way to reach all students because it involves working with your hands, maybe some reading and talking too, and critical thinking, so uses lots of ways of learning. It is foolish to have the opportunity to do something important and not do it just because some people may not benefit from it or it will cost money. Teachers should give students the opportunity to learn in a hands-on ways as much as possible.
In the real world, when we need to learn something new, like how to cook or use a computer program, if it's possible to learn by doing while having someone help and direct us, that is the best way to learn and the way that schools should teach. Studies, and my own experience, show that everyone can benefit from hands-on education; that is the way we learn and remember best.
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