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Fundamental purposes that have been proposed for education include:

The enterprise of civil society depends on educating young people to become responsible, thoughtful and enterprising citizens. This is an intricate, challenging task requiring deep understanding of ethical principles, moral values, political theory, aesthetics, and economics, not to mention an understanding of who children are, in themselves and in society.

Progress in every practical field depends on having capacities that schooling can educate. Education is thus a means to foster the individual?s, society?s, and even humanity?s future development and prosperity. Emphasis is often put on economic success in this regard.

One’s individual development and the capacity to fulfill one?s own purposes can depend on an adequate preparation in childhood. Education can thus attempt to give a firm foundation for the achievement of personal fulfillment. The better the foundation is built, the more successful the child will be. Simple basics in education can carry a child far.


知识快速更新、 全民教育的普及、 个性化教育的实施困难

We increasingly see education as a critical component of democratic society. For intelligent decisions in democratic society, we need an educated population. Furthermore, we increasingly see the need for lifelong education. Society changes faster, so what is learned when we are young is fast outdated. So this need for universal education further complicatesthe problems created by growing populations, by increasing the numbers we must consider.

One aspect of education that must be considered is that all students are different, with different backgrounds, knowledge, interests and learning styles. Each student should be treated individually. But our current modes of learning provide little individualization. Every student tends to be provided with the same learning experiences focused around a white Anglo-Saxon curriculum. This cookie-cutter approach to learning works for a few students, but many do not learn, or learn only partially. Our classes are already too large to provide individualized learning.


Two fundamental assumptions that underlie formal education systems are that students (a) retain knowledge and skills they acquire at school, and (b) can apply them in situations outside the classroom. But are these assumptions accurate? Research has found that, even when students report not using the knowledge acquired at school, a considerable portion is retained for many years and long term retention is strongly dependent on the initial level of mastery. One study found that university students who took a child development course and attained high grades showed, when tested 10 years later, average retention scores of about 30%, whereas those who obtained moderate or lower grades showed average retention scores of about 20%. There is much less consensus on the crucial question of how much knowledge acquired in school transfers to tasks encountered outside formal educational settings, and how such transfer occurs. Some psychologists claim that research evidence for this type of far transfer is scarce, while others claim there is abundant evidence of far transfer in specific domains.