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Do you agree with this statement "Experience is the best teacher".

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nzlockienzlockie (PRO)
Hi! We're back again for a little quickie. As always, I thank the judges for their time, and my opponent for their willingness to engage in this interesting topic.

Well, in drafting this resolution the way they have, my opponent has given me the perfect opportunity to troll this debate. I could elect to take the resolution literally and argue that i DO agree with the statement that "Experience is the best teacher". My opponent would have to convince you that I don't agree - something that would be very tricky to do indeed. 

I hope PRO will forgive me if I don't take the literal definition of the resolution this time. 
Instead let's spend our time debating the TRUTH of the statement, " Experience is the best teacher."

The statement itself is easily understood with basic dictionary definitions. 
The point we will be arguing is that, in the search to understanding a particular subject or skill, people invariably find that the best way to achieve this is by completely immersing themselves in it
There are really only two parts to this resolution which could be misconstrued... 

"Experience" will be defined by a learning method which includes all five human senses. If appropriate, it will also include actually performing the skill in question, or recreating the event physically. 

 "Best" acknowledges that people can learn in many different ways, but that when weighing up all the key criteria, Experience is, on average, the most preferable. Key factors could include; Efficacy, Cost, and a low barrier to Comprehension.

My burden will be to prove that Experience is the most preferable method of learning.
My opponent will need to nominate some other method of learning and show that it is more preferable than Experience.

My first point relates to the effectiveness of a learning method.

This graph is one of a million variants used by Educators all over the world for the last 60 years. 
The numbers are a bit arbitrary but the science backs up the general gist. It basically goes like this - the more of your senses you use, the quicker you will master the subject or skill, and the more you will retain it

For this point I'll nominate Flying as an example. 
A typical Commericial Pilot will complete about 2500hrs of flying time before being allowed to fly a commercial airliner. About 1000 of those will be in a simulator. This source talks to real pilots and asks them about the effectiveness of the Flight Simulator as a learning aid. It won't surprise any of us to hear that 100% of Pilots surveyed claimed that the Simulator allowed to them to prepare for actual flight more than books, videos and lectures ever did. 
The Simulator allowed them to familiarise themselves with the layout and "feel" of the cockpit in three dimensions. The better simulators can even mimic the actual weight of the aircraft as they fly, so they can learn by touch as well. 

There is no doubt that the simulator is a better learning aid than a mere book, and yet even THAT pales to the real thing.
The mental weight of responsibility involved in actually flying 200 people to their destination safely adds another layer to learning that simply can't be attained any other way. 

It's no longer theory - it's reality

 Suffice it to say that studying a subject in Trade School is more expensive than getting paid to learn about it on the job as an Apprentice. 
Fine you say, but what about Academic subjects?! You can't learn THEM on the job!

Can't you? Really? 
Actually there are people all over the world, throughout history who have done exactly that. 
Hamilton Naki was a surgeon of considerable skill, and was freely recognised as such by his peers, despite only having had schooling to the age of 14. 
He never went to medical school as as such was not LICENSED to practice medicine on humans, but make no mistake - that did not prevent him from being an excellent surgeon. 
In the end he was assisting practicing surgeons and teaching medical students - and getting paid to do so. He never had the cripling student debts that others had. 

My contention is that for many things, not only is "just doing it" the easiest way to learn - it's the ONLY way to learn!

For this point I nominate Whistling. 
You can watch someone whistle. You can listen to someone whistle. You can even read "the Osbourne Book on Whistling". 
Ultimately there is no way to learn to whistle other than puckering up and going for it. 
That's because your body needs to learn how to hold your lips in exactly the right place to make the whistling noise. Your brain might be able to get an idea of what Whistling is, and how to do it, but that knowledge is only academic. It means nothing until the rest of the body learns to do it, and that can only happen by DOING it. 

For extra credit, I'll give you one more. As a new dad, I'll nominate "Burning yourself". 
As I was swatting my daughter's hand away from the Hot tap in the bath for the hundredth time, it occured to me that there was nothing I could do to ever teach her what "Too Hot" felt like and why she shouldn't ever touch it. 
I could stop her from burning herself, but she was never going to truely appreciate what a burn felt like until she burned herself. 
So I let her. 

After approximately 3 months of my continually telling her and demonstrating to her the dangers of burning, it took ONE second of actual burn for her to learn that lesson. 

Experience is truly the best teacher. 

This resolution is resoundingly affirmed. 
Vote PRO.

Return To Top | Posted:
2018-03-30 10:50:38
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