TOEFL writing: Do you learn better from your peers or from your teachers?

Hi I would be really thankful if someone could rate this essay.

Q: Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

People learn things better from those at their own level-such as fellow students or co-workers-than from those at a higher level, such as teachers or supervisors.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.

The question of whether people learn better from those at their own level rather than from those at a higher level has been quite controversial. Recently, pundits have suggested that people learn better from teachers and supervisors than from their peers. However, I am against this notion. I believe that people learn better from their peers. I have several reasons to support this stance.

For starters, I feel that peers can explain new topics better than supervisors. Teachers might use technical terms in their explanations which might initially confuse students. When other students explain the same thing they might rephrase it, to make it simpler and understandable thereby resolving all the learner’s confusions. To illustrate, I was weak in Maths. Despite taking numerous classes I still could not solve difficult sums correctly. Ultimately, my friend Samantha explained all the steps of each sum. I found her explanations to be clearer than my teacher’s answers and within a week I saw an improvement in my Mathematics grades. This may not have happened had I taken the same help from my teacher.

Moreover, an educator who is of the same level as you are can relate information in a better way. Usually, there is a considerable age gap between students and their teachers. This makes it difficult for a teacher to explain certain topics. He might know myriad important events during his time but students will be unfamiliar with it. Hence, if he started to explain these past events, for example the Great Depression or the Vietnam War, from his viewpoint students would not be able to grasp the information correctly. In stark contrast, if a fellow student explains such events from his point of view, you will have a similar perspective and therefore it would be facile to understand the topic.

Finally, a person of the same level as you are is likely to be more reachable compared to a supervisor or teacher. If you have any questions or you have trouble understanding a new subject, you can instantly get help from your colleagues. For instance, when I started my new job my General Manager taught me how to use a new software. However, when I had a question about it, I could not contact him as he always busy in meetings and phone calls. My confusions were finally clarified by my colleague Tim. He learnt the software a month ago and answered all my questions. Had I relied on my GM, I may not have gotten my answers on time.

To conclude, I reassert my view that people learn better from those at their own level than from those at a superior level. I concur, that there is no ideal answer regarding this issue. However, I feel that more accesibility to peers, a better ability of people of your own level to explain and relate information are convincing reasons that make my opinion justifiable. (484 words)

P.S. Like most of my essays this was timed and I accidentally made a spelling mistake. How much would it affect my score? I’ll definitely be more careful next time!


Hi Anaam, the TOEFL grading rubric says you can have minor grammatical errors and still score a 5.
I don’t think one spelling error would hurt you, but you did seem to have a few more other minor errors on this one that in some of your other essays. Still, your content was excellent with strong arguments and relevant examples. Please see my comments below:


Thank you so much Luschen!