In this post, I’m going to write an IELTS Writing Task 2 essay in response to a task published in Cambridge IELTS 8. It’s a task on the topic of who should teach children to be good members of society.
Here is the task:
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.
Let’s plan this essay using my 4 Step Planning Process.
Step 1: Understand The Task
First we need to understand the task.
So the topic is about teaching children to be “good members of society” and who should be responsible for doing that? But what is a “good member of society”? What does that mean? I think a “good member of society” is perhaps someone who:
- contributes in some way to their community (e.g. volunteering)
- engages in the political process
- is kind to other people
- is prepared to work hard
However, you may have a different view. The term “good member of society” is probably quite a personal and culturally-biased idea. Perhaps the closest synonym of the phrase is a “good citizen“. Who should teach children to be a good citizen?
In fact if you do a search on the Internet for this topic, you can find quite a few interesting discussions amd articles about it. Here’s a discussion on Quora, for example.
How should we respond to the task?
We’ve been asked to discuss two views on this issue:
- View 1: parents should teach children to be good members of society
- View 2: school is the place to learn to be a good member of society
“Discuss both views” means I must present each view, together with the main arguments for each view. Then I need to give my own opinion. So that’s my task.
Step 2: Decide My Position
I would argue that BOTH parents and schools should do this!
Step 3: Extend My Ideas
Now we need to generate ideas, to come up with reasons for the two views, and my opinion.
View 1: parents should teach children to be good members of society
So why do some people think this? What are the arguments for this view?
Even though I don’t fully agree with this view, I still need to explain this viewpoint. I need to get ‘into the minds’ of the people who hold this view. Here are two possible reasons:
- Reason 1: parents are with their children a lot of the time, so they can discuss children’s behaviour with them
- Reason 2: parents can teach by example, e.g. by doing voluntary work
View 2: schools / teachers should teach children to be good members of society
And why do some people think this? Why do some people think schools are the place to learn to be good members of society? Again, I need to consider why these people think this:
- Reason 1: teachers know how to teach, so they can teach this more quickly and effectively than parents
- Reason 2: schools can explicitly teach good citizenship by including it in the curriculum
My Own View: both parents and teachers should teach children to be good members of society
My view – my REAL view – is that BOTH parents AND teachers should teach children how to be good members of society. It’s not one or the other! Why do I think this? Well, simply because it should be a team effort. Parents are best placed to teach by example and discussion, while schools can teach in a more explicit way. Really, all I’m doing is referring to the reasons for the two different views.
So that’s my plan. Now I can write my essay!
And here it is:
It is important to encourage children to become good members of society. This means things like being a law-abiding citizen, contributing to your community and being prepared to work and study hard. But who is best placed to do this?
One argument is that parents should teach children these things. They are, after all, with their children for long periods of time and they generally know their children inside-out. This makes them ideally placed to discuss behaviour with their children and also their reaction to events they might see in the media. For example, if a child is unkind to another person, or if they see a news story about a political leader clearly lying on television, parents can explain why this is unacceptable behaviour. In so doing children will learn the difference between right and wrong and so they will be less likely to do the same thing themselves. Furthermore, parents can lead by example, showing their children how to be a good citizen through their actions. They could, for instance, get involved in voluntary work at a local food bank, and by doing this, their children will actually see why it is important to give back to their community.
However, an alternative view is that schools should take responsibility for this crucial part of a child’s education. Teachers, unlike parents, are usually well trained to deliver important life lessons and, armed with good resources, they an quickly and effectively ensure that children learn what it is to be a good citizen. Indeed, many schools already do this; in the United Kingdom, for example, many schools now teach personal and social education as part of the school curriculum, and, at high school level, this subject includes the obligations of citizenship, and the importance of contributing towards one’s own community through voluntary work.
Personally, I feel that schools and parents should be jointly responsible for teaching children to become good citizens. Parents are well-placed to lead by example and through discussion, while teachers are able to do the same thing in a more explicit way as part of the school curriculum. In other words, it should be a team effort.
My introduction briefly introduces the topic, and it also explains what I think “good member of society” means. You don’t have to do this in every essay, but I think it’s useful here.
Body paragraph 1 presents the reasons why parents may be best placed to teach children how to be good members of society. The main reason, I think, is that they are with their children a lot of the time, so they have the time to discuss how to be a good citizen. The second reason, is that parents can lead by example: if the parents are “good members of society”, their children can learn by copying.
Body paragraph 2 presents the reasons why schools / teachers are best placed. I’ve suggested they can teach the subject in an explicit way, and because they are well trained can perhaps do this more effectively than parents.
My opinion is quite brief. I’ve simply referred to the ideas from the 2 previous body paragraphs while arguing that it’s a team effort.