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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of good citizens, school, and individuals from the real exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: Good Citizens

Some people think the main purpose of school is to turn children into good citizens and workers, rather than to benefit them as individuals.

To what extent do you agree or disagree?

Many are of the opinion that the primary role of schools is to create good citizens, instead of simply working towards individual betterment. In my opinion, schools should aim to elevate the individual, not impose conformity.

Those is favor of this statement argue the value of a well-functioning society. As the world develops and there are advances in medicine, safety, working conditions, and so on it is easy to forget that this level of comfort requires sacrifices for the common good. Individuals must work at companies to stimulate the economy and the public must have a basic sense of community in order to live peaceably with one’s neighbors. School is where this education can begin. Teachers can explicitly and implicitly guide students to socially beneficial behaviors and educate them well enough to establish a viable future career.

However, I would argue that focusing on the individual will accomplish the goals detailed above but also be mentally healthier. Students who are taught to share, work well in teams, and develop their talents will contribute to society as a byproduct of pursuing their own seemingly selfish interests. Moreover, there may be times when the focus on society will come at the cost of the mental health of individuals. For instance, students who are taught to withhold their personal viewpoints in school, as is common in many authoritarian nations, may harbor resentment and not feel they can fully express themselves in a free environment. Psychological research has shown that the key to healthy growth is feeling safe to express oneself without fear of reprisals and repercussions.

In conclusion, although there is a valid argument in favor of social stability, schools should aim to produce healthy, industrious individuals. Naturally, these goals are not mutually exclusive and the overlap should be emphasized.

Analysis

1. Many are of the opinion that the primary role of schools is to create good citizens, instead of simply working towards individual betterment. 2. In my opinion, schools should aim to elevate the individual, not impose conformity.

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

1. Those is favor of this statement argue the value of a well-functioning society. 2. As the world develops and there are advances in medicine, safety, working conditions, and so on it is easy to forget that this level of comfort requires sacrifices for the common good. 3. Individuals must work at companies to stimulate the economy and the public must have a basic sense of community in order to live peaceably with one’s neighbors. 4. School is where this education can begin. 5. Teachers can explicitly and implicitly guide students to socially beneficial behaviors and educate them well enough to establish a viable future career.

  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. Vary long and short sentences.

1. However, I would argue that focusing on the individual will accomplish the goals detailed above but also be mentally healthier. 2. Students who are taught to share, work well in teams, and develop their talents will contribute to society as a byproduct of pursuing their own seemingly selfish interests. 3. Moreover, there may be times when the focus on society will come at the cost of the mental health of individuals. 4. For instance, students who are taught to withhold their personal viewpoints in school, as is common in many authoritarian nations, may harbor resentment and not feel they can fully express themselves in a free environment. 5. Psychological research has shown that the key to healthy growth is feeling safe to express oneself without fear of reprisals and repercussions.

  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. Add as much information as you can and make sure it links logically.
  5. Develop the example fully.

1. In conclusion, although there is a valid argument in favor of social stability, schools should aim to produce healthy, industrious individuals. 2. Naturally, these goals are not mutually exclusive and the overlap should be emphasized.

  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.

Many are of the opinion that the primary role of schools is to create good citizens, instead of simply working towards individual betterment. In my opinion, schools should aim to elevate the individual, not impose conformity.

Those is favor of this statement argue the value of a well-functioning society. As the world develops and there are advances in medicine, safety, working conditions, and so on it is easy to forget that this level of comfort requires sacrifices for the common good. Individuals must work at companies to stimulate the economy and the public must have a basic sense of community in order to live peaceably with one’s neighbors. School is where this education can begin. Teachers can explicitly and implicitly guide students to socially beneficial behaviors and educate them well enough to establish a viable future career.

However, I would argue that focusing on the individual will accomplish the goals detailed above but also be mentally healthier. Students who are taught to share, work well in teams, and develop their talents will contribute to society as a byproduct of pursuing their own seemingly selfish interests. Moreover, there may be times when the focus on society will come at the cost of the mental health of individuals. For instance, students who are taught to withhold their personal viewpoints in school, as is common in many authoritarian nations, may harbor resentment and not feel they can fully express themselves in a free environment. Psychological research has shown that the key to healthy growth is feeling safe to express oneself without fear of reprisals and repercussions.

In conclusion, although there is a valid argument in favor of social stability, schools should aim to produce healthy, industrious individuals. Naturally, these goals are not mutually exclusive and the overlap should be emphasized.

Answers

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

Many are of the opinion that some think

primary role main responsibility

good citizens productive members of society

instead of rather than

working towards individual betterment making one’s own life better

aim goal

elevate raise

individual one person

impose conformity make everyone the same, fit in

Those is favor of this statement argue supporters say

value importance

well-functioning society healthy public

advances in developments in

medicine hospitals and doctors, etc.

working conditions labor and how safe it is to work

easy to forget many don’t remember

level of comfort how convenient it is

requires needs

sacrifices having to give up on

common good for the good of all

stimulate the economy help people make money

basic sense of community fundamental feeling of togetherness

in order to so that

peaceably in a peaceful way

explicitly overtly

implicitly guide not overtly show

socially beneficial behaviors good for all

establish create

viable future career good future profession

however yet

focusing emphasizing

accomplish finish

goals detailed above aims mentioned before

mentally healthier not stressed, feeling good

talents abilities

contribute add to

byproduct result of

pursuing following

seemingly selfish interests appears to be just for them

focus on care about

come at the cost of at the expense of

withhold keep back

personal viewpoints individual opinions

as is common in like where this happens a lot

authoritarian nations countries with strong governments

harbor resentment feel angry about

fully express say what you want

free environment open society

psychological research studies about the mind

key crucial part

feeling safe to don’t feel afraid to

express oneself say and do what you want

without fear of not concerned about

reprisals and repercussions consequences

valid argument good points

in favor of supporting

social stability no unrest in society

industrious productive

naturally of course

not mutually exclusive both can be achieved

overlap true for both, in common

emphasized focused on

Pronunciation

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

ˈmɛni ɑːr ɒv ði əˈpɪnjən ðæt 
ˈpraɪməri rəʊl 
gʊd ˈsɪtɪznz
ɪnˈstɛd ɒv 
ˈwɜːkɪŋ təˈwɔːdz ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl ˈbɛtəmənt
eɪm 
ˈɛlɪveɪt 
ˌɪndɪˈvɪdjʊəl 
ɪmˈpəʊz kənˈfɔːmɪti
ðəʊz ɪz ˈfeɪvər ɒv ðɪs ˈsteɪtmənt ˈɑːgjuː 
ˈvæljuː 
wɛl-ˈfʌŋkʃənɪŋ səˈsaɪəti
ədˈvɑːnsɪz ɪn 
ˈmɛdsɪn
ˈwɜːkɪŋ kənˈdɪʃənz
ˈiːzi tuː fəˈgɛt 
ˈlɛvl ɒv ˈkʌmfət 
rɪˈkwaɪəz 
ˈsækrɪfaɪsɪz 
ˈkɒmən gʊd
ˈstɪmjʊleɪt ði i(ː)ˈkɒnəmi 
ˈbeɪsɪk sɛns ɒv kəˈmjuːnɪti 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
ˈpiːsəbli 
ɪksˈplɪsɪtli 
ɪmˈplɪsɪtli gaɪd 
ˈsəʊʃəli ˌbɛnɪˈfɪʃəl bɪˈheɪvjəz 
ɪsˈtæblɪʃ 
ˈvaɪəbl ˈfjuːʧə kəˈrɪə
haʊˈɛvə
ˈfəʊkəsɪŋ 
əˈkɒmplɪʃ 
gəʊlz ˈdiːteɪld əˈbʌv 
ˈmɛntəli ˈhɛlθɪə
ˈtælənts 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
ˈbaɪˌprɒdʌkt 
pəˈsjuːɪŋ 
ˈsiːmɪŋli ˈsɛlfɪʃ ˈɪntrɪsts
ˈfəʊkəs ɒn 
kʌm æt ðə kɒst ɒv 
wɪðˈhəʊld 
ˈpɜːsnl ˈvjuːpɔɪnts 
æz ɪz ˈkɒmən ɪn 
ɔːˌθɒrɪˈteərɪən ˈneɪʃənz 
ˈhɑːbə rɪˈzɛntmənt 
ˈfʊli ɪksˈprɛs 
friː ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt
ˌsaɪkəˈlɒʤɪkəl rɪˈsɜːʧ 
kiː 
ˈfiːlɪŋ seɪf tuː 
ɪksˈprɛs wʌnˈsɛlf 
wɪˈðaʊt fɪər ɒv 
rɪˈpraɪzəlz ænd ˌriːpɜːˈkʌʃənz
ˈvælɪd ˈɑːgjʊmənt 
ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv 
ˈsəʊʃəl stəˈbɪlɪti
ɪnˈdʌstrɪəs 
ˈnæʧrəli
nɒt ˈmjuːtjʊəli ɪksˈkluːsɪv 
ˌəʊvəˈlæp 
ˈɛmfəsaɪzd

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:

M__________________________t the p_____________e of schools is to create g________________s, i_____________f simply wo____________________________________t. In my opinion, schools should a___m to e_________e the i____________l, not i_____________y.

T_____________________________e the v_______e of a w____________________y. As the world develops and there are a________________________e, safety, w______________________s, and so on it is e_________________t that this l________________t r______________________s for the c__________________d. Individuals must work at companies to s________________y and the public must have a b_____________f c____________y i__________o live p________y with one’s neighbors. School is where this education can begin. Teachers can e___________y and i___________y g______e students to s______________________s and educate them well enough to e___________h a v___________________r.

H________r, I would argue that f_______g on the individual will a__________h the g________________e but also be m_________________r. Students who are taught to share, work well in teams, and develop their t_______s will c___________e to society as a b_____________t of p____________g their own s_________________________s. Moreover, there may be times when the f__________n society will c________________f the mental health of individuals. For instance, students who are taught to w____________d their p___________________s in school, a_________________n many a____________________s, may h_________________t and not feel they can f_______________s themselves in a f________________t. P____________________h has shown that the k___y to healthy growth is f______________________________f w_______________f r___________________________s.

In conclusion, although there is a v_________________t i________________f s___________________y, schools should aim to produce healthy, i_____________s individuals. N____________y, these goals are n____________________e and the o________p should be e_____________d.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic by watching videos from YouTube below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://www.theguardian.com/society/2019/may/16/mindfulness-lessons-child-mental-health

Speaking Practice

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

School

  1. Did you like your school when you were a child?
  2. What did you learn about?
  3. Did you have a favorite teacher?
  4. Are there many rules in schools in your country?

Writing Practice

Practice with the related IELTS essay topic below:

Some people believe the purpose of education should be helping the individual to become useful for society, while others believe it should help individuals to achieve their ambitions.

Discuss both sides and give your opinion.


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