Teach skills instead of facts: agree or disagree?

Some people argue that because the Internet makes it so easy for children to access facts, schools should not focus on teaching facts. Instead, they should focus on developing children’s skills and potential, and their relationships with other people.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this opinion?

See essay plan

Introduction: Paraphrase the question then answer – completely agree

Main paragraph 1

  1. Topic: two reasons why schools do not need to teach facts
  2. First reason: multimedia lessons can be found on the Internet
  3. Example: YouTube has lessons on all subjects by good teachers
  4. Second reason: children know how to do fact-finding online
  5. Therefore, researching facts can be done as homework

Main paragraph 2

  1. Topic: teach practical and social skills instead
  2. Examples of practical skills: reseach, presentations, website design
  3. Explain why: these skills are in high demand in companies
  4. Examples of teaching social skills: group projects, teamwork, negotiation
  5. Explain why: develop students’ emotional intelligence, leadership, potential

Conclusion: Repeat / summarise my overall answer

My model answer:

As information is now so accessible online, it can be argued that schools should move away from fact-based teaching and towards work on skills and relationship building. I completely agree with this idea.

There are two main reasons why I believe that school teachers should no longer focus on presenting factual information to their students. Firstly, there is simply no need for teachers to create lessons that are already available in multimedia format on the Internet. YouTube, for example, contains videos that cover the full range of school subjects and lesson topics. Secondly, young people are so adept at using websites and search engines that they can be trusted to do their own online fact-finding. In my opinion, this research could be done as homework, which would remove the need for the teaching of facts in the classroom.

A shift away from the traditional style of teaching would allow schools to build their students’ practical and social skills. Useful practical skills might include online research, presentations, website design, and even computer programming. Competence in these areas is in high demand in today’s job market. With regard to social or relationship skills, a modern approach to education would put more emphasis on group projects that require teamwork, negotiation and the delegation of tasks. This way of teaching could develop students’ emotional intelligence and leadership qualities, and help all children, regardless of academic ability, to reach their potential.

In conclusion, I believe that classroom teaching should prioritise skills and interpersonal relationships, while factual knowledge can be studied at home via the Internet.

Vocabulary review

Here’s a list of the ‘less common’ collocations and phrases in the essay above:

  • accessible online
  • move away from x and towards y
  • fact-based teaching
  • should no longer focus on
  • presenting factual information
  • available in multimedia format
  • cover the full range of
  • adept at
  • online fact-finding
  • would remove the need for
  • a shift away from
  • competence in these areas
  • in high demand
  • in today’s job market
  • a modern approach to education
  • put more emphasis on
  • teamwork, negotiation, delegation
  • emotional intelligence
  • leadership qualities
  • regardless of academic ability
  • reach their potential
  • prioritise skills and interpersonal relationships
  • factual knowledge
  • via the Internet