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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of freedom to make mistakes from the real IELTS exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Freedom to Make Mistakes

Some people think children should have the freedom to make mistakes, while other people believe that adults should prevent children from making mistakes.

Discuss both sides and give your opinion.

Some are of the opinion that children should be allowed to make mistakes, while others feel that adults should take a preventative approach. In my opinion, there are limits but it is nonetheless essential for healthy development to permit children their errors.

Proponents of reduced freedom for children argue that mistakes can lead to a pattern of misbehavior. This argument is often advanced by over-protective parents who believe human nature naturally trends toward anti-social activity. For example, a child who is mean to classmates and performs poorly in academics and athletics will only continue this behavior if enabled by understanding adults. To counter the child’s wayward impulses, parents should instead either punish or reward in order to motivate more socially acceptable behavior. The theory is that children will then recognize the boundaries set by parents and society and later fit into the adult world as well-functioning members.

Regardless, a sense of autonomy is crucial to mature development. Children who are shielded from making mistakes often lack the skills that encourage healthy growth. The majority of learning, for instance, is achieved through mistakes. A child who is learning a sport makes mistake after mistake but does it with a positive attitude and eventually improves. Later in life, the attitude may become more negative but the process remains the same for all disciplines, private and public. Parents and other adults must therefore seek to impart unconditional support and ensure children do not develop self-esteem problems based on their mistakes. This approach of fostering a cheerful self-sufficiency will serve them best throughout life.

In conclusion, although some adults may feel that are preventing children from making mistakes for the public good, they are in fact doing great harm to their child’s mental well-being. If larger segments of society accept this perspective, it will benefit all of society.

Analysis

1. Some are of the opinion that children should be allowed to make mistakes, while others feel that adults should take a preventative approach. 2. In my opinion, there are limits but it is nonetheless essential for healthy development to permit children their errors.

  1. Paraphrase the overall essay topic.
  2. Write a clear opinion. Read more about introductions here.

1. Proponents of reduced freedom for children argue that mistakes can lead to a pattern of misbehavior. 2. This argument is often advanced by over-protective parents who believe human nature naturally trends toward anti-social activity. 3. For example, a child who is mean to classmates and performs poorly in academics and athletics will only continue this behavior if enabled by understanding adults. 4. To counter the child’s wayward impulses, parents should instead either punish or reward in order to motivate more socially acceptable behavior. 5. The theory is that children will then recognize the boundaries set by parents and society and later fit into the adult world as well-functioning members.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific or hypothetical examples.
  4. Keep developing it fully.
  5. Finish this main idea.

1. Regardless, a sense of autonomy is crucial to mature development. 2. Children who are shielded from making mistakes often lack the skills that encourage healthy growth. 3. The majority of learning, for instance, is achieved through mistakes. 4. A child who is learning a sport makes mistake after mistake but does it with a positive attitude and eventually improves. 5. Later in life, the attitude may become more negative but the process remains the same for all disciplines, private and public. 6. Parents and other adults must therefore seek to impart unconditional support and ensure children do not develop self-esteem problems based on their mistakes. 7. This approach of fostering a cheerful self-sufficiency will serve them best throughout life.

  1. Write a new topic sentence with a new main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your new main idea.
  3. Include specific details and examples.
  4. Continue developing it…
  5. as fully as possible!
  6. This paragraph can be long.
  7. Finish with a strong statement.

1. In conclusion, although some adults may feel that are preventing children from making mistakes for the public good, they are in fact doing great harm to their child’s mental well-being. 2. If larger segments of society accept this perspective, it will benefit all of society.

  1. Summarise your main ideas.
  2. Include a final thought. Read more about conclusions here.

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean? Make some notes on paper to aid memory and then check below.

Some are of the opinion that children should be allowed to make mistakes, while others feel that adults should take a preventative approach. In my opinion, there are limits but it is nonetheless essential for healthy development to permit children their errors.

Proponents of reduced freedom for children argue that mistakes can lead to a pattern of misbehavior. This argument is often advanced by over-protective parents who believe human nature naturally trends toward anti-social activity. For example, a child who is mean to classmates and performs poorly in academics and athletics will only continue this behavior if enabled by understanding adults. To counter the child’s wayward impulses, parents should instead either punish or reward in order to motivate more socially acceptable behavior. The theory is that children will then recognize the boundaries set by parents and society and later fit into the adult world as well-functioning members.

Regardless, a sense of autonomy is crucial to mature development. Children who are shielded from making mistakes often lack the skills that encourage healthy growth. The majority of learning, for instance, is achieved through mistakes. A child who is learning a sport makes mistake after mistake but does it with a positive attitude and eventually improves. Later in life, the attitude may become more negative but the process remains the same for all disciplines, private and public. Parents and other adults must therefore seek to impart unconditional support and ensure children do not develop self-esteem problems based on their mistakes. This approach of fostering a cheerful self-sufficiency will serve them best throughout life.

In conclusion, although some adults may feel that are preventing children from making mistakes for the public good, they are in fact doing great harm to their child’s mental well-being. If larger segments of society accept this perspective, it will benefit all of society.

Answers

For extra practice, write an antonym (opposite word) on a piece of paper to help you remember the new vocabulary:

are of the opinion believe

allowed are able to

mistakes errors

take a preventative approach want to stop it from happening at all

limits boundaries

nonetheless regardless

essential crucial

healthy development good for you

permit allow

errorsmistakes

proponents people who support

reduced less

lead to a pattern of misbehavior keep making mistakes in the future

argument debate

advanced developed

over-protective parents parents who try too hard to keep their kids safe

human nature how people are naturally

naturally trends toward of course leads to

anti-social activity not following the rules of society

mean not nice

classmates students in the same class

performs poorly does badly

academics school subjects

athletics sports

behavior how a person acts

enabled encouraged

understanding sympathy

counter fight against

wayward impulses bad desires

punish hit, reprimand

reward positive reinforcement

in order to so as to

socially acceptable behavior what the world allows you to do

theory idea

recognize start to notice

boundaries set by limits laid down by

fit into become part of

well-functioning members normal people

regardless nonetheless

sense of autonomy feeling of independence

crucial important

mature development sophisticated growing up

shielded from protected from

lack don’t have

encourage healthy growth help you grow up well

majority most of

achieved got to the point

mistake after mistake keep messing up

positive attitude good outlook

eventually improves in the long run helps

later in life as you get older

negative not positive

process way of doing something

remains the same doesn’t change

disciplines skills, jobs

private personal

public around others

therefore thus

seek to impart hopes to give

unconditional support no strings love

ensure make sure

develop self-esteem problems feel bad about themselves

based on comes from

approach way of doing something

fostering encouraging

cheerful self-sufficiency happy independence

throughout life your whole life

preventing stopping

public good for all of society

in fact actually

doing great harm hurting

mental well-being psychological health

larger segments more parts of

society accept the world believe in

perspective viewpoint

benefit get something from

Pronunciation

Practice saying the vocabulary below and use this tip about Google voice search:

ɑːr ɒv ði əˈpɪnjən 
əˈlaʊd 
mɪsˈteɪks
teɪk ə prɪˈvɛntɪv əˈprəʊʧ
ˈlɪmɪts 
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs 
ɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ˈhɛlθi dɪˈvɛləpmənt 
ˈpɜːmɪt 
ˈɛrəz
prəˈpəʊnənts 
rɪˈdjuːst
liːd tuː ə ˈpætən ɒv ˌmɪsbɪˈheɪvjə
ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ədˈvɑːnst 
ˈəʊvə-prəˈtɛktɪv ˈpeərənts 
ˈhjuːmən ˈneɪʧə 
ˈnæʧrəli trɛndz təˈwɔːd
ˈænti-ˈsəʊʃəl ækˈtɪvɪti
miːn 
ˈklɑːsmeɪts 
pəˈfɔːmz ˈpʊəli 
ˌækəˈdɛmɪks 
æθˈlɛtɪks 
bɪˈheɪvjə 
ɪˈneɪbld 
ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ 
ˈkaʊntə 
ˈweɪwəd ˈɪmpʌlsɪz
ˈpʌnɪʃ 
rɪˈwɔːd 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
ˈsəʊʃəli əkˈsɛptəbl bɪˈheɪvjə
ˈθɪəri 
ˈrɛkəgnaɪz 
ˈbaʊndəriz sɛt baɪ 
fɪt ˈɪntuː 
wɛl-ˈfʌŋkʃənɪŋ ˈmɛmbəz
rɪˈgɑːdlɪs
sɛns ɒv ɔːˈtɒnəmi 
ˈkruːʃəl 
məˈtjʊə dɪˈvɛləpmənt
ˈʃiːldɪd frɒm 
læk 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ ˈhɛlθi grəʊθ
məˈʤɒrɪti 
əˈʧiːvd 
mɪsˈteɪk ˈɑːftə mɪsˈteɪk 
ˈpɒzətɪv ˈætɪtjuːd 
ɪˈvɛnʧəli ɪmˈpruːvz
ˈleɪtər ɪn laɪf
ˈnɛgətɪv 
ˈprəʊsɛs 
rɪˈmeɪnz ðə seɪm 
ˈdɪsɪplɪnz
ˈpraɪvɪt 
ˈpʌblɪk
ˈðeəfɔː 
siːk tuː ɪmˈpɑːt 
ˌʌnkənˈdɪʃənl səˈpɔːt 
ɪnˈʃʊə 
dɪˈvɛləp sɛlf-ɪsˈtiːm ˈprɒbləmz 
beɪst ɒn 
əˈprəʊʧ 
ˈfɒstərɪŋ 
ˈʧɪəfʊl sɛlf-səˈfɪʃənsi 
θru(ː)ˈaʊt laɪf
prɪˈvɛntɪŋ 
ˈpʌblɪk gʊd
ɪn fækt 
ˈdu(ː)ɪŋ greɪt hɑːm 
ˈmɛntl wɛl-ˈbiːɪŋ
ˈlɑːʤə ˈsɛgmənts 
səˈsaɪəti əkˈsɛpt 
pəˈspɛktɪv
ˈbɛnɪfɪt 

Vocabulary Practice

I recommend getting a pencil and piece of paper because that aids memory. Then write down the missing vocabulary from my sample answer in your notebook:

Some a_____________________n that children should be a_________d to make m___________s, while others feel that adults should t_____________________________h. In my opinion, there are l________s but it is n______________s e______________l for h____________________t to p_________t children their e_______s.

P___________s of r__________d freedom for children argue that mistakes can l_________________________________r. This a___________t is often a____________d by o___________________________s who believe h_____________e n____________y t_________________d a____________________y. For example, a child who is m____n to c___________s and p_________________y in a____________s and a____________s will only continue this b__________r if e________d by u_________________g adults. To c__________r the child’s w___________________s, parents should instead either p__________h or r_______d i___________o motivate more s_____________________________r. The t_______y is that children will then r___________e the b________________y parents and society and later f________o the adult world as w________________________s.

R___________s, a s_____________________y is c_________l to m_____________________t. Children who are s_____________m making mistakes often l_____k the skills that e________________________h. The m__________y of learning, for instance, is a___________d through mistakes. A child who is learning a sport makes m___________________e but does it with a p________________________e and e__________________s. L_____________e, the attitude may become more n___________e but the p__________s r_________________e for all d___________s, p___________e and p________c. Parents and other adults must t_____________e s___________________t u___________________t and e_________e children do not d________________________________n their mistakes. This a_____________h of f_____________g a c_____________________y will serve them best t_____________________e.

In conclusion, although some adults may feel that are p______________g children from making mistakes for the p____________d, they are i_______t d__________________m to their child’s m________________g. If l_________________s of s________________t this p____________e, it will b________t all of society.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from The New York Times YouTube channel below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

Read more about this topic and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.cnbc.com/2021/03/24/common-grammar-mistakes-that-make-people-cringe-and-make-you-look-less-smart-word-experts.html

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following speaking questions from the real IELTS speaking exam:

Playing

  1. When you were a child, where did you like to play?
  2. Did you prefer playing indoors or outdoors?
  3. What kinds of games did you play?
  4. Do kids benefit more from playing outside?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

It is better for children if the whole family including aunts, uncles and so on are involved in a child’s upbringing, rather than just their parents.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?


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