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This is an IELTS writing task 2 sample answer essay on the topic of whether or not television programmes should be aimed at educating viewers about important social issues from the real IELTS exam.

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IELTS Essay: Watching TV

Some people say that all popular TV entertainment programmes should aim to educate viewers about important social issues.

To what extent do you agree or disagree with this statement?

Critics of the quality of televisions shows these days argue that more educational programming related to key social issues is needed. In my opinion, though there are legitimate reasons to support such reforms, I believe television should be mainly for entertainment.

Those in favour of raising awareness of social problems claim that television is not currently serving a socially viable purpose. The most popular shows are dramas, comedies, and reality TV, all of which are purely for entertainment. If the time wasted on such shows was diverted towards educational programs, this would have a ripple effect on society at large. For example, more informed news shows about underprivileged segments of society could lead to outpourings of empathy and encourage a nuanced understanding of the causes of poverty. This greater awareness would translate to real action in many cases. Powerful figures and small activists alike could contribute to socially beneficial causes.

Nonetheless, the actual impact of the proposed changes is questionable and most people do not watch TV out of altruism. Raising awareness of social issues, depending on how it is handled and the self-righteousness of the programs, is just as likely to provoke a negative backlash and hinder progress. Moreover, people watch TV in order to relax and let their minds rest or to experience a feeling of excitement. Forcing viewers to think about complex societal problems would simply discourage them and they would instead watch videos on YouTube or Netflix. It would be impossible to regulate all media and there would be public uproar at the attempt.

In conclusion, though it would be ideal for television to inform citizens of social problems, this solution is not practical. Individuals will always seek out the pastimes that entertain, not educate, them the most.

Analysis

1. Critics of the quality of televisions shows these days argue that more educational programming related to key social issues is needed. 2. In my opinion, though there are legitimate reasons to support such reforms, I believe television should be mainly for entertainment.

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

1. Those in favour of raising awareness of social problems claim that television is not currently serving a socially viable purpose. 2. The most popular shows are dramas, comedies, and reality TV, all of which are purely for entertainment. 3. If the time wasted on such shows was diverted towards educational programs, this would have a ripple effect on society at large. 4. For example, more informed news shows about underprivileged segments of society could lead to outpourings of empathy and encourage a nuanced understanding of the causes of poverty. 5. This greater awareness would translate to real action in many cases. 6. Powerful figures and small activists alike could contribute to socially beneficial causes.

  1. Write a topic sentence with a clear main idea at the end.
  2. Explain your main idea.
  3. Develop it with specific examples.
  4. Continue to develop it.
  5. State the result.
  6. Develop it fully.

1. Nonetheless, the actual impact of the proposed changes is questionable and most people do not watch TV out of altruism. 2. Raising awareness of social issues, depending on how it is handled and the self-righteousness of the programs, is just as likely to provoke a negative backlash and hinder progress. 3. Moreover, people watch TV in order to relax and let their minds rest or to experience a feeling of excitement. 4. Forcing viewers to think about complex societal problems would simply discourage them and they would instead watch videos on YouTube or Netflix. 5. It would be impossible to regulate all media and there would be public uproar at the attempt.

  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. The more specific, the better.
  5. Develop the example fully by stating the result.

1. In conclusion, though it would be ideal for television to inform citizens of social problems, this solution is not practical. 2. Individuals will always seek out the pastimes that entertain, not educate, them the most.

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

Vocabulary

What do the words in bold below mean?

Critics of the quality of televisions shows these days argue that more educational programming related to key social issues is needed. In my opinion, though there are legitimate reasons to support such reforms, I believe television should be mainly for entertainment.

Those in favour of raising awareness of social problems claim that television is not currently serving a socially viable purpose. The most popular shows are dramas, comedies, and reality TV, all of which are purely for entertainment. If the time wasted on such shows was diverted towards educational programs, this would have a ripple effect on society at large. For example, more informed news shows about underprivileged segments of society could lead to outpourings of empathy and encourage a nuanced understanding of the causes of poverty. This greater awareness would translate to real action in many cases. Powerful figures and small activists alike could contribute to socially beneficial causes.

Nonetheless, the actual impact of the proposed changes is questionable and most people do not watch TV out of altruism. Raising awareness of social issues, depending on how it is handled and the self-righteousness of the programs, is just as likely to provoke a negative backlash and hinder progress. Moreover, people watch TV in order to relax and let their minds rest or to experience a feeling of excitement. Forcing viewers to think about complex societal problems would simply discourage them and they would instead watch videos on YouTube or Netflix. It would be impossible to regulate all media and there would be public uproar at the attempt.

In conclusion, though it would be ideal for television to inform citizens of social problems, this solution is not practical. Individuals will always seek out the pastimes that entertain, not educate, them the most.

Answers

critics those who argue against it

quality how good it is

these days recently

educational programming shows that are informative

key social issues imprtant problems related to society

legitimate reasons good justifications

reforms changes

those in favour of raising awareness supporters of this opinion

claim argue

not currently serving not helping

socially viable purpose good for society

reality TV shows without scripts about real people

purely entirely

wasted not used properly

diverted towards pushed in a different direction

ripple effect trickle down impact

at large in general

more informed news shows TV shows that report well

underprivileged segments poor parts

lead to outpourings of empathy cause people to feel bad

encourage motivate

nuanced understanding complex understanding of

poverty being poor

greater awareness know more about

translate means

powerful figures famous, rich people

small activists alike individuals as well

contribute add to

socially beneficial causes helps society

nonetheless regardless

actual impact real effect

proposed changes what they want to reform

questionable dubious

out of altruism not for personal gain

depending on has to do with

handled dealt with

self-righteousness feeling superior to others

provoke instigate

negative backlash overreaction

hinder progress hurt the movement

let their minds rest relax

experience watch

forcing have to

complex societal problems nuanced issues in society

discourage not motivate

instead in fact

regulate make laws about

public uproar people angry

attempttry

ideal perfect

inform give information about

not practical impractical, not realistic

pastimes hobbies

Pronunciation

ˈkrɪtɪks 
ˈkwɒlɪti 
ðiːz deɪz 
ˌɛdju(ː)ˈkeɪʃənl ˈprəʊgræmɪŋ 
kiː ˈsəʊʃəl ˈɪʃuːz 
lɪˈʤɪtɪmɪt ˈriːznz 
ˌriːˈfɔːmz
ðəʊz ɪn ˈfeɪvər ɒv ˈreɪzɪŋ əˈweənəs 
kleɪm 
nɒt ˈkʌrəntli ˈsɜːvɪŋ 
ˈsəʊʃəli ˈvaɪəbl ˈpɜːpəs
ri(ː)ˈælɪti ˌtiːˈviː
ˈpjʊəli 
ˈweɪstɪd 
daɪˈvɜːtɪd təˈwɔːdz 
ˈrɪpl ɪˈfɛkt 
æt lɑːʤ
mɔːr ɪnˈfɔːmd njuːz ʃəʊz 
ˌʌndəˈprɪvɪlɪʤd ˈsɛgmənts 
liːd tuː ˈaʊtˌpɔːrɪŋz ɒv ˈɛmpəθi 
ɪnˈkʌrɪʤ 
nju(ː)ˈɑːnst ˌʌndəˈstændɪŋ 
ˈpɒvəti
ˈgreɪtər əˈweənəs 
trænsˈleɪt 
ˈpaʊəfʊl ˈfɪgəz 
smɔːl ˈæktɪvɪsts əˈlaɪk 
kənˈtrɪbju(ː)t 
ˈsəʊʃəli ˌbɛnɪˈfɪʃəl ˈkɔːzɪz
ˌnʌnðəˈlɛs
ˈækʧʊəl ˈɪmpækt 
prəˈpəʊzd ˈʧeɪnʤɪz 
ˈkwɛsʧənəbl 
aʊt ɒv ˈæltrʊɪzm
dɪˈpɛndɪŋ ɒn 
ˈhændld 
sɛlf-ˈraɪʧəsnɪs 
prəˈvəʊk 
ˈnɛgətɪv ˈbæklæʃ 
ˈhaɪndə ˈprəʊgrəs
lɛt ðeə maɪndz rɛst 
ɪksˈpɪərɪəns 
ˈfɔːsɪŋ 
ˈkɒmplɛks səˈsaɪətl ˈprɒbləmz 
dɪsˈkʌrɪʤ 
ɪnˈstɛd 
ˈrɛgjʊleɪt 
ˈpʌblɪk ˈʌprɔː 
əˈtɛmpt
aɪˈdɪəl 
ɪnˈfɔːm 
nɒt ˈpræktɪkəl
ˈpɑːstaɪmz

Vocabulary Practice

Remember and fill in the blanks:

C_________s of the q_________y of televisions shows t___________s argue that more e____________________________g related to k__________________s is needed. In my opinion, though there are l______________________s to support such r________s, I believe television should be mainly for entertainment.

T_____________________________________s of social problems c_____m that television is n__________________________g a s___________________e. The most popular shows are dramas, comedies, and r_________V, all of which are p________y for entertainment. If the time w________d on such shows was d__________________s educational programs, this would have a r_______________t on society a_________e. For example, m______________________s about u__________________________s of society could l__________________________________y and e_____________e a n___________________________g of the causes of p__________y. This g____________________s would t________________e to real action in many cases. P____________________s and s_______________________e could c______________e to s_____________________________s.

N________________s, the a________________t of the p____________________s is q____________________e and most people do not watch TV o__________________m. Raising awareness of social issues, d____________________n how it is h_____________d and the s______________________s of the programs, is just as likely to p___________e a n_______________________h and h_____________________s. Moreover, people watch TV in order to relax and l________________________t or to e____________e a feeling of excitement. F___________g viewers to think about c___________________________s would simply d___________e them and they would i__________d watch videos on YouTube or Netflix. It would be impossible to r___________e all media and there would be p_______________r at the a_____________t.

In conclusion, though it would be i_________l for television to i__________m citizens of social problems, this solution is n__________________l. Individuals will always seek out the p__________s that entertain, not educate, them the most.

Listening Practice

Learn more about this topic in the video below and practice with these activities:

Reading Practice

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

https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/1955/11/educational-television/305080/

Speaking Practice

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

Sports

  1. Which sport do you like to play?
  2. Have you ever been on a sports team?
  3. Do you like watching sports on TV?
  4. Which sport are popular to watch on TV in your country?

Writing Practice

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

Nowadays children watch much more television than they did in the past and spend less time being active or creative.

What is the reason for this?

What measures should be taken to encourage children to be more active?


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