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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of how much high school students should be allowed to question and criticize their teachers from a real IELTS recent exam.

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Dave

IELTS Essay: High School Students

Many people argue that in order to improve educational quality, high school students should be encouraged to question and offer criticisms on their teachers. Others think this will lead to a loss of respect and discipline in the classroom.

Discuss both views and give your own opinion.

Some today contend that high school students should have greater latitude to critique and question their teachers, despite the risks this presents for classroom management. I am strongly in agreement as this enables the ideal classroom environment.

Critics of this shift in mentality point out that the teacher position requires respect. A teacher who is consistently being interrupted by students will not be able to lecture and assign and mark homework well. Many students might exploit a rule that encourages questions in order to intentionally derail lessons and undermine the teacher. There is also the possibility that the negative attitude of some students will create general unrest that is not conducive to learning. However, I would argue that the appearance of respect, when in reality most students question their teachers in private, holds little actual value beyond preserving unwarranted pride.

Moreover, the free discussion of ideas is essential to the best learning. Students who are sitting quietly and feigning interest in class are likely to become less motivated. On the other hand, if a class is studying a work of literature or an event in history, students will engage more fully in lessons given the opportunity to ask questions. By asking questions, even if these queries are loosely defined as criticisms of what is being taught, they will suddenly have a reason to learn and the lesson will become more memorable for all students. The questions might also lead the class to novel insights as long as the teacher is confident enough to embark on collaborative explorations.

In conclusion, although certain educational institutions fear that questions may undermine teachers, they in fact are the foundation of a positive learning environment. Schools should embrace academic rigor in all its forms.

Analysis

1. Some today contend that high school students should have greater latitude to critique and question their teachers, despite the risks this presents for classroom management. 2. I am strongly in agreement as this enables the ideal classroom environment.

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

1. Critics of this shift in mentality point out that the teacher position requires respect. 2. A teacher who is consistently being interrupted by students will not be able to lecture and assign and mark homework well. 3. Many students might exploit a rule that encourages questions in order to intentionally derail lessons and undermine the teacher. 4. There is also the possibility that the negative attitude of some students will create general unrest that is not conducive to learning. 5. However, I would argue that the appearance of respect, when in reality most students question their teachers in private, holds little actual value beyond preserving unwarranted pride.

  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. The more development, the better.

1. Moreover, the free discussion of ideas is essential to the best learning. 2. Students who are sitting quietly and feigning interest in class are likely to become less motivated. 3. On the other hand, if a class is studying a work of literature or an event in history, students will engage more fully in lessons given the opportunity to ask questions. 4. By asking questions, even if these queries are loosely defined as criticisms of what is being taught, they will suddenly have a reason to learn and the lesson will become more memorable for all students. 5. The questions might also lead the class to novel insights as long as the teacher is confident enough to embark on collaborative explorations.

  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. This argument should be stronger than the last paragraph.

1. In conclusion, although certain educational institutions fear that questions may undermine teachers, they in fact are the foundation of a positive learning environment. 2. Schools should embrace academic rigor in all its forms.

  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 today contend that high school students should have greater latitude to critique and question their teachers, despite the risks this presents for classroom management. I am strongly in agreement as this enables the ideal classroom environment.

Critics of this shift in mentality point out that the teacher position requires respect. A teacher who is consistently being interrupted by students will not be able to lecture and assign and mark homework well. Many students might exploit a rule that encourages questions in order to intentionally derail lessons and undermine the teacher. There is also the possibility that the negative attitude of some students will create general unrest that is not conducive to learning. However, I would argue that the appearance of respect, when in reality most students question their teachers in private, holds little actual value beyond preserving unwarranted pride.

Moreover, the free discussion of ideas is essential to the best learning. Students who are sitting quietly and feigning interest in class are likely to become less motivated. On the other hand, if a class is studying a work of literature or an event in history, students will engage more fully in lessons given the opportunity to ask questions. By asking questions, even if these queries are loosely defined as criticisms of what is being taught, they will suddenly have a reason to learn and the lesson will become more memorable for all students. The questions might also lead the class to novel insights as long as the teacher is confident enough to embark on collaborative explorations.

In conclusion, although certain educational institutions fear that questions may undermine teachers, they in fact are the foundation of a positive learning environment. Schools should embrace academic rigor in all its forms.

Answers

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

contend argue

high school students those 14 – 18 years old

greater latitude to more freedom to

critique question, criticize

question ask about

despite regardless of

risks threats

presents creates

classroom management how the class is held under control

strongly in agreement agree totally

enables allows for

ideal classroom environment good environment for learning

critics those who are against this

shift in mentality change in thinking

point out argue

position job

respect thinking highly of someone

consistently all the time

interrupted by distracted by

lecture talk to students

assign give work

mark grade

exploit take advantage of

encourages gives energy to

in order to so that

intentionally derail on purpose distract

undermine be rude to

possibility chance

negative attitude bad mentality

create general unrest cause unhappiness and protest

not conducive not good for

appearance semblance of

in reality in the real world, actually

in private not publicly

holds little actual value beyond preserving unwarranted pride not important except to make people feel an undeserved sense of confidence

free discussion talking about openly

essential crucial

quietly not loudly

feigning interest pretending to care about

motivated encouraged

on the other hand however

work of literature novel

event in history thing that happened in the past

engage more fully pay more attention

given the opportunity to with the chance to

loosely defined not clearly grouped

criticisms critiques, saying bad things about

suddenly all at once

memorable easy to remember

lead guide

novel insights new ideas

as long as so far as

confident enough self-assured enough

embark on go on

collaborative explorations working together to learn about

educational institutions schools

undermine question

foundation basis

positive learning environment good place to learn

embrace academic rigor care about learning

in all its forms in all varieties

Pronunciation

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

kənˈtɛnd 
haɪ skuːl ˈstjuːdənts 
ˈgreɪtə ˈlætɪtjuːd tuː 
krɪˈtiːk 
ˈkwɛsʧən 
dɪsˈpaɪt 
rɪsks 
ˈprɛznts 
ˈklɑːsrʊm ˈmænɪʤmənt
ˈstrɒŋli ɪn əˈgriːmənt 
ɪˈneɪblz 
aɪˈdɪəl ˈklɑːsrʊm ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt
ˈkrɪtɪks 
ʃɪft ɪn mɛnˈtælɪti 
pɔɪnt aʊt 
pəˈzɪʃən 
rɪsˈpɛkt
kənˈsɪstəntli 
ˌɪntəˈrʌptɪd baɪ 
ˈlɛkʧə 
əˈsaɪn 
mɑːk 
ˈɛksplɔɪt 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤɪz 
ɪn ˈɔːdə tuː 
ɪnˈtɛnʃənli dɪˈreɪl 
ˌʌndəˈmaɪn 
ˌpɒsəˈbɪlɪti 
ˈnɛgətɪv ˈætɪtjuːd 
kri(ː)ˈeɪt ˈʤɛnərəl ʌnˈrɛst 
nɒt kənˈdjuːsɪv 
əˈpɪərəns 
ɪn ri(ː)ˈælɪti 
ɪn ˈpraɪvɪt
həʊldz ˈlɪtl ˈækʧʊəl ˈvæljuː bɪˈjɒnd prɪˈzɜːvɪŋ ʌnˈwɒrəntɪd praɪd
friː dɪsˈkʌʃən 
ɪˈsɛnʃəl 
ˈkwaɪətli 
ˈfeɪnɪŋ ˈɪntrɪst 
ˈməʊtɪveɪtɪd
ɒn ði ˈʌðə hænd
wɜːk ɒv ˈlɪtərɪʧə 
ɪˈvɛnt ɪn ˈhɪstəri
ɪnˈgeɪʤ mɔː ˈfʊli 
ˈgɪvn ði ˌɒpəˈtjuːnɪti tuː 
ˈluːsli dɪˈfaɪnd 
ˈkrɪtɪsɪzmz 
ˈsʌdnli 
ˈmɛmərəbl 
liːd 
ˈnɒvəl ˈɪnsaɪts 
æz lɒŋ æz 
ˈkɒnfɪdənt ɪˈnʌf 
ɪmˈbɑːk ɒn 
kəˈlæb(ə)rətɪv ˌɛksplɔːˈreɪʃənz
ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənz 
ˌʌndəˈmaɪn 
faʊnˈdeɪʃən 
ˈpɒzətɪv ˈlɜːnɪŋ ɪnˈvaɪərənmənt
ɪmˈbreɪs ˌækəˈdɛmɪk ˈrɪgə 
ɪn ɔːl ɪts fɔːmz

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 today c__________d that h________________s should have g___________________o c_______e and q________n their teachers, d________e the r_____s this p_________s for c____________________t. I am s___________________t as this e_________s the i_______________________________t.

C_______s of this s____________________y p__________t that the teacher p________n requires r_________t. A teacher who is c_______________y being i_____________y students will not be able to l___________e and a__________n and m___k homework well. Many students might e_________t a rule that e_________s questions i______________o i____________________l lessons and u_____________e the teacher. There is also the p___________y that the n_____________e of some students will c___________________________t that is n______________e to learning. However, I would argue that the a_____________e of respect, when i___________y most students question their teachers i_________e, h____________________________________________________________e.

Moreover, the f________________n of ideas is e____________l to the best learning. Students who are sitting q________y and f_______________________t in class are likely to become less m____________d. O________________d, if a class is studying a w___________________________e or an e__________________y, students will e____________________y in lessons g_________________________________o ask questions. By asking questions, even if these queries are l__________________d as c_________________s of what is being taught, they will s___________y have a reason to learn and the lesson will become more m____________e for all students. The questions might also l_____d the class to n__________________s a_____________s the teacher is c_________________h to e________________n c_______________________________s.

In conclusion, although certain e_________________________s fear that questions may u____________e teachers, they in fact are the f_____________n of a p______________________t. Schools should e______________________r i______________s.

Listening Practice

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

Reading Practice

Read more and use these ideas to practice:

https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2021/09/school-learning-loss-trauma-death/619970/

Speaking Practice

Practice with the following related 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 chart below and then check with my sample answer:

Some people say that at all levels of education, from primary school to university, too much time is spent on learning facts and not enough on learning practical skills.

Do you agree or disagree?


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