Developing Ideas and Opinions: Education

Education is, of course, a key topic in the IELTS exam. Below is a list of ideas, opinions, advantages, disadvantages and problems and solutions relating to many different aspects of education. In a few days I will add some topic-based vocabulary and speaking practice on the same subject.

Benefits of education

• Education gives people knowledge and skills
• People with qualification are more likely to find work
• They can earn a higher salary
• They can contribute positively to society
• Schools aim to teach young people moral values such as tolerance and sharing
• Schools prepare children to be members of a society

Benefits of Studying Abroad

• Foreign institutions may offer better courses
• Many students want to attend a prestigious university
• The best universities employ teachers who are experts in their fields
• Qualifications gained abroad can open the door to better job opportunities
• Living abroad can broaden students’ horizons
• Overseas students are exposed to different cultures and customs.
• They become more independent
• They are responsible for cooking, cleaning and paying bills
• They will learn a foreign language

Drawbacks of studying abroad

• Living and studying abroad can be difficult
• Students have problems with paperwork such as visa applications
• The language barrier can be a problem
• Students have to find accommodation and pay bills
• Studying in a foreign language is challenging
• Living alone in an unfamiliar culture can cause homesickness

Technology in Education: Advantages

• Technology is a powerful tool to engage students
• Technology can make lessons much more interesting
• Students can do research using online resources
• Students can study at their own place
• Adults can take distance learning courses
• Students can study whenever and wherever they want
• Students also learn skills which are useful for their future jobs
• For example, they learn to write reports using a word processor

Technology in Education: Disadvantages

• People rely too much on computers
• Young learners do not become proficient in some basic skills
• They use word processors and spelling may suffer
• People should be able to write a letter by hand
• Technology is no substitute for a real teacher
• Learners need a structured course
• An experienced teacher knows what materials to choose
• Computers are expensive to maintain and can be unreliable

Technology in Education: Opinions

• Institutions should supplement traditional teaching with the use of technology
• Technology is part of everyday life
• It can enhance a teacher’s lessons
• Students can use online resources to help with homework
• Students must still learn to write by hand
• They should still use traditional sources of information such as books

Education in Developing countries: Problems

• Children often have to work from an early age
• There are no schools in many areas
• Families do not have access to books or computers
• Literacy rates are often low
• People in developing countries need knowledge and skills
• Education is the key to improving the economy of these countries

Education in developing countries: Solutions

• Developed countries could help developing nations by providing money
• They could invest in schools and technology
• They could supply the funds to build schools and pay for teachers
• Children need to have access to free schooling
• Computer equipment could be donated
• The Internet can expose students to a world of knowledge and information
• Governments should make education compulsory for all children
• They should encourage parents to send their children to school
• Governments of developed and developing countries must work together

Higher education: Advantages (also see “benefits of education”)

• There are many benefits to going to university
• A degree can open the door to better employment prospects
• Economies are becoming increasingly knowledge-based
• Most jobs require specific knowledge and skills
• Skilled workers are needed for sectors such as information technology and engineering Repetitive manual jobs are now done by machine
• Many factories have moved to developing countries

Higher education: Disadvantages

• A healthy economy needs a wide range of workers
• Some manual workers will always be needed
• A university degree is not necessary for many service professions
• Practical training is more important in some industries
• In the UK, for example, there is currently a shortage of plumbers
• Their services are therefore becoming more and more expensive

Advantage of home-schooling

• Some parents decide to educate their children at home
• Some families live in isolated areas with poor transport
• Other parents are not satisfied with local schools
• Parents can respond to what their children need and how they learn best
• One-to-one lessons allow much faster progress
• The child can work at his or her own pace
• Discipline problems are avoided by home-schooling

Disadvantages of home-schooling

• Most parents do not have the time to educate their children at home
• One parent would need to give up work
• School subjects are normally taught by up to ten different teachers
• Most parents do not have the necessary knowledge or resources
• Private tutors are expensive
• Children will miss out on the social experience that school offers
• At school, children learn how to get on with each other
• Home-schooled children may lack social skills
• Schools offer a better overall educational experience

Bad behavior in schools: Causes

• Bad behavior is due to a lack of structure and discipline
• There are too many children in some classes
• Large classes are difficult to manage
• May disruptive students come from an unstable family background
• Other parents are too lenient and spoil their children
• Some children are used to getting whatever they want
• Schools can do very little if they are not supported by parents

Bad behavior in schools: Solutions

• Schools need a clear code of conduct
• Schools need a clear set of rules about behavior
• They need to create a positive working atmosphere
• Teachers must have the power to punish disruptive students
• Schools should remove difficult children from lessons
• Schools need to work closely with parents
• Discipline could be lacking at home
• Parents must support the school rules
• They should take responsibility for their children’s behaviour

Corporal Punishment: Opinion

• Corporal Punishment is not a good idea
• Physical punishment is a way of controlling children using fear
• This does not promote trust between adults and children
• Children who are punished physically may become shy or resentful
• Corporal punishment creates an atmosphere of fear and anger

Single Sex Education: Advantages

• Some people believe that male and female students should go to separate schools
• This is often for religious or cultural reasons
• Discipline problems might be avoided by separating boys and girls
• Boys and girls may learn in different ways and have different needs
• Student at single-sex schools often get better exam grades

Single-sex Education: Disadvantages

• Separating boys and girls is unnecessary
• It is unhealthy in terms of children’s social development
• Many coeducational schools are extremely successful
• A mixed-sex environment is more representative of real life
• Coeducational schools provide children with better social skills for adult life

Advantages of Streaming (grouping children according to ability)

• Some schools separate students according to their academic ability
• Teachers can work at the right speed for their students
• Teachers can plan more suitable lessons
• High-level groups may progress faster
• Lower level groups can benefits from a slower pace
• Some teachers and parents support streaming for these reasons

Disadvantages of Streaming

• Grouping by ability may have a negative impact on students
• Children do not want to be seen as less intelligent than others
• Streaming could damage students’ self esteem
• They may lose motivation
• Students from wealthier families tend to be better prepared
• Children from poorer families may receive less support from parents
• Mixed ability classes encourage everyone to achieve their potential.

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