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This is an interesting essay topic. You will have to narrow it down in order to develop a good thesis. You will have to decide what the relationship is, in your opinion (or at least that you can prove). For example, you could argue that most of what a child learns in school is not relevant to the child's daily life. For example, how to bubble in answers on a multiple choice test. You could also argue that school prepares a child to be a productive member of society and teaches essential skills for adulthood.
As said above, I can't decide what side you fall on, but I can share my thoughts with you.
I believe their needs to be a correlation between real life and a school curriculum because a child's brain is often incapable of thinking outside their own experiences until a much older age. Smaller children are literally incapable of relating to something they haven't experienced (look at Piaget's cognitive development theory) and adolescents are experiencing a time when they truly believe the world revolves around them and are also unable to make connections unless it connects to them (check out Erik Erikson). I believe that cognitively and neurologically students cannot learn new material if they cannot find something in their brain to relate it to. Look at the newest research on brain based learning (Susan Kovalik), which also looks at the neurological correlation.
In addition, I just have to say that my experience with students over the last ten years tells me there is a strong correlation. Students learn better when they can relate the content to something that they already understand or that they can relate to in their everyday lives. It is not always easy to make these connections in the classroom, but it is always worthwhile.
I can but echo the same questions of #3. You might find it helpful to reflect on your own learning experiences. Was your curriculum that you undertook at school related to "real life"? How do you define real life? That is a bit of a nebulous concept. Personally, I think that curriculums should be related to real life, and that learning that results from such a relation will be more effective, but when I reflect on my own learning, lots of it had very little relation to "real life" and I still turned out all right. Well, some may argue differently... :-)
I agree with the answers above and would like to add another correlation to students' lives and curriculum---technology. Every workshop I attend and almost every article I read deals with using relevant technology in classroom. What is meant by relevant is that technology that the students use such as cell phones, Facebook groups, Twitter, Wikispaces, etc. By doing this, students become interested because you have tapped into their world. It used to be how many hours young people spent in front of the television; now, it is how many hours they spend behind a computer and/or on the Internet.
The other day in my honors English class, I was asking my students why they don't check their Edline calendar for their reading assignments. It has been a problem all year trying to get them to use our district's grade book program at home to inform them of assignments, links, tests, etc. Well, I got my answer when one of my students replied, "If you made it an App, I would check it." I believe I can rest my case now!
Do you agree that there needs to be a correlation? If so, why? What reasons do you have that will help support that thesis? If you don't believe there needs to be a correlation, then your thesis should state that there does not need to be a connection; thus, giving three reasons why you believe that statement to be true.
The best way to decide which way to write this thesis is to brainstorm both sides of the argument. Then, study the reasons you have given for supporting details. Which way will you be able to write more convincingly? This is the way to go...even if it's not the way you really feel.
Personally, I do believe students need a correlation. If there is no connection to the real world, they don't see the need for learning the concepts. Of course, there are things we learn that don't really have a real-world connection. We learn some things just for the pure enjoyment of learning. However, for the average student, he/she must be able to see the relevance in learning something in order to be convinced it is worth the time and effort applied to master the task.
To write a good thesis, you first need to know what you're going to argue.
If it were me, I'd argue that kids will only learn well if they care about their lessons. I would then argue that they will care more about their lessons if the lessons are connected to real life. With that in mind, I would write a thesis like this:
Most children learn best when they care about the lessons that they are supposed to learn. One of the best ways to make them care is to give them a curriculum that is clearly related to their own lives.
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