Monday, February 24, 2014

Writing for IELTS Task 2: A Step-by-Step Method



by Tish Kirkland (www.yes-ielts.com)

This article describes my step-by-step approach to writing an essay for IELTS Writing Task 2. The topic is from Test 1 of Cambridge IELTS Book 8.

Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society. Others, however, believe that school is the place to learn this. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.


Step 1

First I carefully read the question and underline the key words.
Some people think that parents should teach children how to be good members of society. Others, however, believe that school is the place to learn this. Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.
Then I think about what the question is actually asking. I create a yes-no question so that I can answer it easily. This method works for me.

Should parents teach their children how to be good members of society ?


Step 2

I make two columns, one for yes and the other for no, and brainstorm my ideas. I make a note of all the ideas I have which could support answers to the yes-no question.

YES / AGREE
NO / DISAGREE
(parents should)
first educators
have the most influence
ultimate role models
chn learn through imitation
tchrs have enough responsibilities
tchrs/school may have different values
(the school should)
parents are too busy
parents have no time
chn are at school every day
school = place to learn


You can see that some of my ideas are repetitive (parents are too busy is pretty much the same as parents have no time), but at this brainstorming stage this repetitions is OK. I will edit my ideas more when it comes to the next step: planning.

When brainstorming, I also think about some of the words I would like to include in my essay. In this one I think I would like to use the following words (in one form or another): provide, educate, responsibility, imitate, microcosm, influence, values, social, raise, rearIn addition, I decide that I would like to use the following collocations and idioms: role model, first educator, step up, (put responsibility) on the shoulders of, follow suit, bring up. By making a note of these words now, I can come back to them when I am planning, writing, or even when I am checking my work.


Step 3

Next, I sort my ideas into a plan:

PLAN
INTRODUCTION
child rearing = big responsibility
BODY
PARAGRAPH 1
(MAIN IDEA 1 +
Support this with Explanation / Evidence / Examples)
yes, parents should. why?
main role model
chn learn through imitation
values are the same
PARAGRAPH 2
(MAIN IDEA 2 + Support this with Explanation / Evidence / Examples)
yes, parents should. why?
schools should focus on academic
schools & teachers = too busy
PARAGRAPH 3
(BALANCE / ACKNOWLEDGE,
& REFUTE)


no, schools should. why?
chn at school daily.
parents too busy
BUT…      chn also at home daily
parents need to step up

CONCLUSION
parents, w/ support from school.


My plan would be in more note form than above, but in this case I want you to be able to read and understand it. You can see that Body Paragraph 1 is about the role of the home, whereas Body Paragraph 2 is about the role of the school. Both paragraphs main ideas are in agreement that parents should take responsibility.

Body Paragraph 3 mentions the opposing idea, that schools should take responsibility. However, this idea is then refuted, taking the reader back to my opinion that it is the parents’ responsibility.


Step 4

After analysing the question, brainstorming, and planning, it’s now time to write. Here is my essay as I first wrote it:

There is no argument that raising children into model citizens takes a lot of effort. Yet time and time again this responsibility is unfairly placed on the shoulders of educational institutions, when in fact it should be the parents who take charge of such a fundamental issue.

Because they are the child’s first contact, parents must take responsibility for their children’s education regarding social values. It is the parents whom the child ultimately looks to for guidance and support, therefore parents should model good behaviour for the child to copy. Children learn through imitation, and if parents can demonstrate positive actions, their children will follow suit.

The school is certainly a place where children come into contact with their peers, and thus can be seen as a microcosm of adult society. At school, children can practice their interactive and social skills which they have learnt from their parents at home. They will be challenged with different ways of thinking and a sound base provided at home can help children develop their own world view, and to realise how they fit into society.

It may be argued parents are too busy working to provide their children with socialisation skills. They have to work long hours in order to support their families and afford things like school fees. In addition, the children spend a large proportion of their waking hours at school, which makes school the ideal place for learning all types of skills. However, it must be acknowledged that although children spend a lot of time at school, in the end it is home which has the most influence.

In conclusion, parents’ actions are much more influential on the child than the school’s.  They should demonstrate their own positive social skills for their children to copy, long before their children even start school. Later on, schools can support the parents’ teachings by providing opportunities for children to interact with their peers under the teacher’s guidance, but essentially this social education starts at home.

You will note that I did not use all the idioms I had thought I would.



Step 5

Now I check my essay and make some minor adjustments. Here is the finished result:

There is no argument that raising children into model citizens takes a lot of effort. Yet time and time again this responsibility is unfairly placed on the shoulders of educational institutions, when in fact it should be the parents who take charge of such a fundamental concern.

Because they are the child’s first contact, parents must take responsibility for their children’s education regarding social values. It is the parents whom the child ultimately looks to for guidance and support, therefore parents should model good behaviour for the child to copy. Children learn through imitation, and if parents can demonstrate positive actions, their children will follow suit.

The school is certainly a place where children come into contact with their peers, and thus can be seen as a microcosm of adult society. At school, children can practice their interactive and social skills learnt from their parents at home. They will be challenged with different ways of thinking and a solid foundation provided at home can help children develop their own world view, and to realise how they fit into society.

It may be argued parents are too busy working to provide their children with socialisation skills. They have to work long hours in order to support their families and afford things like school fees. In addition, the children spend a large proportion of their waking hours at school, which makes school the ideal place for learning all types of skills. However, it must be acknowledged that although children spend a lot of time at school, in the end it is home which has the most influence.

In conclusion, parents’ actions are much more influential on the child than the school’s.  They should demonstrate their own positive social skills for their children to copy, long before their children even start school. Later on, schools can support the parents’ teachings by providing opportunities for children to interact with their peers under the teacher’s guidance, but essentially this social education starts at home.



While checking this essay, I made sure all my apostrophes are in the right place and my plurals are accurate. I am particularly concerned about making sure parents, parents’, parent’s, children’s, and child’s are all correct. I checked that my pronouns are not too repetitive and that it is clear who they refer to. I changed issue to concern in the Introduction. In Body Paragraph 2, I removed which they have learnt and changed sound base to solid foundation.


For more information about writing for Task 2 in IELTS, please take a look at my e-courses on www.yes-ielts.com.

- Tish

1 comment:

  1. IELTS is not easy. Only students comprehension and analytical skills are important. Constant practice and confidence are needed for the IELTS.

    I.E.L.T.S Test mythology

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