Essay by audia628College, Undergraduate March 2006

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As a learner, I have always believed in independent and active learning followed by some direct instructions given by a teacher or an expert. The direct instruction helps me in the beginning, when a new topic or experience is introduced. However, in order to master a topic I have to practice on my own, that is, solve similar problems or repeat the experiment with a slightly different setting. Just like Illustrated in "Learning to See," written by Samuel H. Scudder and "How I Learned To Read and Write," written by Fredrick Douglass. Both of these stories show how most of us learn from self-experience rather then in a classroom by a teacher. For me, active learning as opposed to passive learning is the only way to fully understand new concepts, whether it is a science, math, literature, or art concept. The goal of higher education, the way I see it, is to develop a person's ability to think independently, differently, and uniquely based on the facts and knowledge gained in classroom form reading, lecture, demonstration, software programs or other educational resources.

Higher education gives a person an opportunity to choose the area of interest and work with an educator who is an expert in the field. However, the best educator is not a baby sitter who tells "everything" to his/her pupils, but rather one who demonstrates the basic concepts and then asks his learners to research and apply the gained knowledge in the field. Higher education should train and develop people's analytical and logical skills instead of forcing students to memorize facts and numbers that they will forget immediately after the midterm or the final tests. In addition, college students are taking many courses that do not relate directly to one 's major and some of them are just a...