The environment in which students learn affects the entire learning process in a big way. While Some experts believe that a highly structured environment with strict focus on punctuality, routine and discipline enhances learning, many others believe exactly the opposite - giving students freedom to learn at their own pace. I support the latter point of view.
Giving students freedom to learn things the way they want to enhances spontaneity as against the rigidity of a structured environment. When you are learning what you like, then you would try and excel in it. You would put more effort at understanding the concepts and try to use your learning into your real life. For instance, I know of an engineering student who was interested in motor lubricants. When given the encouragement to devote more time in that field of study, he tried out the lube experiments on his own motorcycle. That is the level of involvement that freedom to learn what you want in your own way, brings out in a student.
A highly structured environment inhibits creativity. On the contrary, it can be compared with bonded labor. As in bonded labor, the laborers are forced to work irrespective of whether they want to , so in a highly structured education environment, the students are forced to learn things as per a stipulated routine, irrespective of whether they want to. In such an environment, students would not try to put in their complete effort into understanding what they are learning.
Another negative aspect of the structured environment is that forcing students to stick to a rigid time-table may cause resentment among them. Then, as a way to express their protest, the students may either drop-out owing to the rigidity of the schedule or they may fare poorly in their courses. A...