Following my post a week or so back, I have knocked up another section about education. As before, you have some possible essay questions, followed by some ideas and a couple of essay examples. Then some vocab and examples of this language used in the context of the speaking section. As before, any questions, feel free to get in touch anytime.
Topic specific language: Education
Some people believe that an increasing use of technology in schools means that the role of the teacher may become redundant in the future.
To what extent do you agree with this opinion?
Some people argue that the traditional method of delivering lectures in big lecture theatres is becoming increasingly outdated and that the internet should be used instead to stream lectures online.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of such an approach to education?
Discipline is an increasing problem in schools today. Some think that enforcing discipline should be the job of teachers whereas others believe it should be the job of parents.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Some children receive no encouragement from their parents while at school, whereas others may receive too much parental pressure which may have an adverse effect on their children.
Why do you think some parents act in this way?
What role should parents take in their children’s education?
It could be argued that the purpose of education is to prepare children to take their place in the world of work. Therefore, all non-academic subjects that do not assist in this preparation such as arts and humanities should be removed from the curriculum so that children can focus on useful subjects.
To what extent do you agree?
Some people believe that disruptive children should be removed from the classroom so as not to affect other children’s education.
What do you consider is the best way to deal with this situation?
What other solutions are there?
It has been argued that education should be free for all, up to and including university study.
To what extent do you agree or not with this view?
The current trend in many countries is to move away from final exams and instaed have a system of continual assessment throughout the year?
How effective do you think this might be?
What problems do you think this might cause?
Some people think that education is more valuable than experience in many fields of life.
Do you think that educated people have more value than those who are not?
What kind of experience can people learn that would be of benefit to society?
In today’s globalised world it is considered an advantage to speak more then one language. Some people think children should begin such learning at primary school while others think it should begin after secondary school.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
The gap between rich and poor in terms of education is becoming an increasing concern.
What solutions can you suggest to rectify this imbalance?
In many schools the pupils have to wear a uniform while in others the dress code is non existent.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a school uniform for children?
Many people believe that some form of compulsory community service should be a part of every high school curriculum.
What do you think would be the advantages and disadvantages of such a scheme?
Some people think that parent s have the most influence on their children’s academic success while others believe it is their teachers.
Discuss both views and give your opinion.
In several countries, male and female students are educated separately.
What are the advantages and disadvantages of such a system?
On most science courses at university the number of male students outweighs the number of female students.
Why do you think this is?
What can be done to redress this imbalance?
Some people believe that you are never too old to learn something new.
Do you think this is true?
What are the advantages of life-long learning?
It is considered by some that the job of a teacher is to motivate and inspire their students, other would argue their job is to simply pass on knowledge.
What do you think is the role of a teacher?
Ideas for essays.
Benefits of education
Education gives people knowledge
Graduates are more likely to find a good job
They can earn more money
They can make a positive contribution to society
A liberal education teaches tolerance and respect
Education prepares people to take their place in a modern globalised world
Benefits of study abroad.
Foreign institutions may better than in your home country
Qualifications gained abroad often have more value
Living abroad can make students more open-minded
Living abroad can expose the student to different language, cultures, and customs
they will learn a foreign language
They will become more independent
Disadvantages of study abroad
Students may encounter culture shock
There may be legal issues with visas, etc
Language may be a problem
Students may be homesick
Technology in education: advantages
Modern students are already familiar with technology
Technology engages students
Students can access more information faster than ever before
Adults can take distance learning courses
Students can learn at their own pace whenever they wish
Technology in education: disadvantages
Tendency to rely too much on computers
Traditional study skills may be lost
Technology is no substitute for a real teacher
University education to be free to everyone, regardless of income.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
It has been argued that attending university is a right that should be shared by every student who wishes it irrespective of whether they can pay for the privilege or not. In my view, access to higher education should indeed be available to all. This essay will, firstly, discuss the benefits to society of an educated citizenry, and secondly, consider the arguments that university education is a way to offset inequality in a given society.
Firstly, having more people graduate with high level degrees is of obvious benefit to any society. Having a more productive and educated workforce will naturally lead to higher levels of innovation and productivity with consequent increases in the economy. For example, if we consider the situation in America, a recent survey by Harvard Business School indicated that over 80% of young people involved in startups and creating their own online businesses had BA and in some cases MA degrees. Although correlation does not necessarily reflect causation, the implication from this survey is that, in most cases, a higher level of education seems to be the norm for most entrepreneurs.
Secondly, although wealth creation is undoubtedly important in any country, I would also argue that having a high degree of education is a vital means to reduce inequality within the citizenry. Unfortunately, although this may be a generalisation, many poorly educated people have a lack of critical thinking skills and a general awareness of the current political and social issues of the day. As a consequence, many people may vote for political parties who do not represent their interests as well as lacking the knowledge needed to tackle the structural inequalities within society as a whole, such as women’s rights, rights in the workplace, etc. A study by the Department of Education in the UK revealed that a significant proportion of people seeking advice on employment issues from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau had a minimal high school education. The implication of this research is that employers are more able to exploit non-graduates than graduates, as the graduates had a greater knowledge of the legal rights they were allowed under the law.
In conclusion, the argument as to whether university education should be free for all is not a complicated one. In my view, this is a basic right which should be afforded to all regardless of income. The benefits are clear, a higher level of educated citizens results in greater innovation in the fields of business and enterprise, as well as a body politic which knows it’s basic rights and is not afraid to demand them.
Word count 430
Band score 9.0
In the past lectures were the traditional method of teaching large numbers of students. Nowadays new technology is increasingly being used to teach students. What are the advantages and disadvantages of this new approach?
It can be argued that technology in the classroom is increasingly replacing the traditional way of delivering information to students previously given in the form of lectures to large groups of people. This essay will argue that the advantages are the flexibility that such a delivery system offers, and that the main disadvantage is a lack of familiarity with such technology for some students.
Firstly, it can be said that the greatest benefit of technology in education is the flexibility it offers. For one thing, it is now no longer necessary for students to be present in the lecture theatre. This means that part-time courses for adults who are in employment and distance learning courses for people in other countries are now much more practical. As an illustration, The Open University published a recent paper in 2015 which showed that the take-up rate for online courses has increased by 40% over the last three years. Also, as another advantage the lecturer may make full use of such devices as Moodles, interactive whiteboards and other tools to deliver their courses in a more engaging way to large numbers of students which may increase the take-up rate further.
That being said, there are obvious drawbacks to this new methodology. One of which is that not every student may be comfortable with using these devices or tools, such as older learners possibly, although some young students may have this problem even if they are “digital natives”. For example, a recent survey by The Guardian revealed that as many of 70 % of all students had some misgivings about using technology during their courses at university. Another issue is that education is a social activity and as such requires human interaction as far as is possible. A lack of “contact time” with the course deliverers may be an issue here, as impersonal technology cannot totally replace the human contact found in traditional face-to-face tutorials and seminars.
In conclusion then, there are obviously significant benefits to introducing technology into the “classroom”, not least because it enables more people to take advantage of education, such as distance learning courses. This is balanced, however, by the fact that it can be too impersonal for some and disadvantages others for their lack of technological skills.
Word count 377
Band score 9.0
Topic specific language
.to attend classes: to go to classes
- bachelors degree: an undergraduate course which usually lasts 3-4 years
- boarding school: a school where pupils live during term time
- distance learning: a way of studying where tuition is carried out over the Internet or by post
- face-to-face classes: as opposed to distance learning the traditional way of studying in a classroom with colleagues and a teacher
- to fall behind with your studies: to progress less quickly than others
- to give feedback: to offer guidance on a student’s work
- a graduation ceremony: an event where a successful student receives his or her academic degree
- higher education: education, usually in a college or university, that is followed after high school or secondary school
- an intensive course: a course that offers lots of training in order to reach a goal in as short a time as possible
- to keep up with your studies: to not fall behind
- to learn something by heart: to memorize it
- a mature student: a student who is older than average and who has usually returned to education after a period at work
- masters degree: a period of study which often follows the completion of a bachelors degree or is undertaken by someone regarded as capable of a higher-level academic course
- to meet a deadline: to finish a job or task in the time allowed or agreed
- to play truant: to stay away from classes without permission
- private language school: an independent school run as a business concern
- public schools: exclusive independent schools in the UK
- a single-sex school: a school where only boys or girls attend (as opposed to a mixed-sex school)
- to sit an exam: to take an exam
- state school: a school paid for by public funds and available to the general public
- subject specialist: a teacher who has a great deal of knowledge about the subject they teach.
- to take a year out: to spend a year working or travelling before starting university
- tuition fees: the money paid for a course of study
- to work your way through university: to have a paid job whilst studying to support yourself financially
Speaking Questions examples
Q: “Are you studying English at a school?”
A: “Yes, I’m taking an intensive course at a local private language school, I attend classes three times a week actually, it’s really good”
Q: “Would you say you are a good student?”
A: “Not too bad, I can say I’m pretty good at meeting deadlines and I’m managing to keep up with my studies although it can be hard at times plus I find it quite easy to learn things by heart which is useful when learning a language, or anything in fact”
Q: “When you were younger did you enjoy your time at school?”
A: “Well, more or less, I liked school usually, it was an ordinary state school, nothing special. Unfortunately it was a single-sex school which was not so great actually, but the teachers were ok and I had lots of friends and I never played truant like some pupils did”
Describe a time during your education that you really enjoyed. You should say:
when this period was
where you were
what you were studying at the time
and say why you were so happy.
A: “I’d like to talk about my time at university, this was a few years ago now actually, I was a mature student which means I didn’t go to uni at 19 or whatever like most people do. As a matter of fact I was 39 when I went to the university of York. Let me give you some background, I used to work in a factory for some years til I got a scholarship to Ruskin College at Oxford. Then after that I decided to continue my education so I applied to uni. Anyway, so I was doing a bachelors Degree and it was a bit of a challenge. You know some people take a year out, but for me it was more like twenty years out, plus I had to work my way through uni so I was very busy and sitting exams at the end of each year was a new experience for me as well but I really enjoyed higher education learning about a subject I loved. History and politics actually, and the social life was great as well. Although it was hard at first to make friends as I was twice as old as the typical students. That was a problem, and sometimes I felt like quitting but I’m glad I stuck it out and kept going. Anyway, it’s over now and I had my graduation ceremony last year and I know my parents were really proud. You know, I’m the first person in my family to go to uni, so yes, that was a really happy time. I liked it so much that I’m thinking of doing a Masters Degree soon, though that might be through distance learning as I have a full-time job now”
Q: “What qualities do you think a good teacher has?”
A: “I think they should be patient, also they should be subject specialists and be able to explain the subject clearly. They should give feedback quickly, for example not hang on to your essays for ages like some teachers do”
Q: “What are the advantages of studying on a distance learning course?”
A: “It’s a more flexible way of studying especially if you have a job, another thing is the tuition fees are usually cheaper, but you have to be very motivated and I would imagine more people fall behind with their studies compared to face-to-face classes at a college, for example”
Q: “Do all children get equal opportunities in education?”
A: “In my country I think it is quite equal but in the UK I’ve heard that most people who go to the top universities have studied at public schools, which is not very fair, you have to have quite well off parents to study in a school like that. The people that get those opportunities have usually been to boarding schools as well so the fees are enormous. Well beyond most students”