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Sample Response to Real GRE Issue Questions

Issue # 8: "Some educational systems emphasize the development of student's capacity for reasoning and logical thinking, but students would benefit more from an education that also taught them to explore their own emotions."

The ability of a student to think clearly using reasoning and logical thinking is of paramount importance in order to ensure his or her success as an individual after graduation from a university. To be able to look at a situation and use logic and reason to analyze the facts and develop an opinion or solution is to have a solid foundation for success in all aspects of life. Exploring one's emotions is important, but it is outside of the realm of what can be learned in a university classroom. Emotional self-exploration is best done outside of a classroom situation, although there may be some opportunity for students in the classroom to learn a methodology for doing so.

The ability to survive and thrive in a society is based on the assumption that human beings act according to reason and logic. From a very early age, most people are taught that certain actions will bring about certain reactions, and that by using logic you can figure out what the response will be in most situations. Reasoning is also developed early on, although sometimes it is difficult to explain reasoning to a two-year old. Humans are probably born with a desire for reason and logic, as demonstrated by almost any child's incessant asking of the question "Why?". To understand the underlying reasons why something happens is a fundamental part of human nature, proven by the exploits of explorers, scientists and mathematicians over the course of human history.

As a result, the basic framework of most forms of human society requires that a person must act according to the demands of reason and logic. Rules of law are based on the concept that individuals respond to rules based on reasoning and logic. The ability to think according to logic and reason is so imperative that it is essential that it be taught to university students at even the highest levels. What if law schools and medical schools decided that it was more important to allow students to explore their own emotions at the expense of learning the latest laws or medical techniques? Perhaps one course could be taught to help students to deal with the emotional demands of being a lawyer or a doctor, but to train students to explore their own emotions at the expense of learning about logical and reasonable thinking would be to invite catastrophe in society.

One of the main problems with emphasizing to students the importance of exploring one's own emotions is that it creates a "me first" attitude towards their studies. Certainly a degree of self-introspection is necessary to deal with society, but to put emphasis on this above all else is to inculcate in the student the idea that he or she is more important than others, and that what he or she thinks matters a great deal more than it probably does in reality. Too much emotional self-exploration could create individuals who see their emotions as more important than what they contribute to society, which would damage that society as a whole.

A certain amount of self-introspection into one's emotions is probably helpful to the development of a student as an overall person. Usually this kind of activity is explored fully in basic psychology classes that most students are required to take at university. Basic courses in sociology and psychology as well as other humanities courses give students plenty of opportunity to explore their own emotions. Rather than teaching students how to explore their own emotions, it would seem to be a better idea to teach students how to deal with these emotions. Only by instructing students in reasoning and logic can they learn how to apply whatever inner emotions they may have to becoming a successful member of a society.

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