The Question

Some students prefer to take classes where they frequently interact with their classmates and professor. Other students prefer classes where they just listen to lectures. Which do you prefer? Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

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The Sample Essay

        Every student has their own preferred learning style, and therefore it is impossible to accommodate all of them.  In my opinion, the best classes are those which include a lot of discussions. I feel this way for two reasons, which I will explore in the following essay.

         To begin with, classes where we have the opportunity to speak help to develop our intellectual abilities.  Classes where the teacher does most of the talking are very passive, on the other hand, and do not help us grow academically.  They mostly involve the memorization of facts and details which do not help us in the long run. For example, I recently took a political science class that changed the way I think about the world.  The cut and thrust of debate in the class made me consider where my political beliefs came from and if they were even correct. I was required to listen to the opinions of others, so I was a more open-minded person after the class finished.  I believe that I would not have developed in such a way by just listening to lectures. This example demonstrates how stimulating intellectual conversations can be.

        Secondly, classes that involve a lot of interactions can help students develop the skills necessary to work well in groups.  Many freshman students arrive at university very shy and unable to communicate well. Talking with their peers teaches students how to communicate effectively, and they can use this skill to excel in their future careers.  My older brother’s experience demonstrates that this is true. When he started university he was a very introverted person and did not enjoy collaborating with others. However, after four years of participating in debates, discussions and presentations in his classes he became a very confident public speaker.  As a result, when he began his career after graduation, he excelled in group work and was seen by his co-workers and supervisors as a natural leader. He was promoted quickly and advanced through the ranks of his company. Without participating in discussions with his professors and classmates he would not have developed the skills necessary to succeed in this way.

       In conclusion, I feel strongly that classes which are centered on discussions between professors and students are preferable to those in which the professor does all of the talking.  This is because these classes help students develop academically, and because they teach students the skills that they need to achieve success in the future. (411 words)


This is a sample TOEFL independent essay written by a native speaker.  It follows our TOEFL writing templates  for independent essays.  If it is useful, please remember that we have many more sample essays for you to read!



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