Ideas vs. Facts


Do you agree or disagree with the following statement?

It is more important to understand ideas and concepts than to learn facts.

Use specific reasons and examples to support your answer.


My teachers are constantly drilling our class and making us learn facts. This is a useless teaching method. It is more important to teach ideas and concepts than to have students remember facts.

The reason is that, once students understand an idea, they can more easily learn the facts behind it. Therefore, only after the teacher explains an idea should he or she give the class the facts. Without knowing the main idea, students will be unable to connect the facts or show the facts’ importance. For example, my friends and I have recently read several confusing books in our literature class. Unfortunately, our teacher never told us the overall themes in the stories we had read. So we were not sure what the stories were about even after finishing them. However, when the teacher finally gave us the books’ themes, the stories made sense. Had we known the themes while reading the stories, we could have learned much more. This is why ideas and concepts should be taught first.

Ideas and concepts have the power to change the world, but facts do not. For example, my history class recently learned about Martin Luther King Jr. and the American Civil Rights Movement. We learned why he and many others were protesting at that time. While we did learn some facts, we focused more on the overall ideas behind the Civil Rights Movement. Thanks to Dr. King’s and others’ work, the racial climate in America greatly improved. People of all races and colors started to receive equal treatment. And Dr. King’s ideas of racial equality have inspired people all over the world. His ideas were world-changing, and those are what we will remember.

Teaching ideas is much better than focusing on facts. Knowing ideas helps people understand facts more easily. And some ideas have greatly changed society. When I study or read books, I do not recall all the facts, but I always remember the ideas.

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