Online IELTS classroom 1.2

Position, essay structure, ideas, introduction

It has been very useful for me to see the essay plans that people posted in the comments below lesson 1.1. Let’s look at the planning stage now, and then we’ll move on to writing the introduction.

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Here’s the essay question again:

Some people argue that because the Internet makes it so easy for children to access facts, schools should not focus on teaching facts. Instead, they should focus on developing children’s skills and potential, and their relationships with other people.

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

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Position

I’m going to add another stage to our planning process. I’ll call this stage the ‘coherent position summary’. I’ll show you what I mean.

Coherent position summary 1: completely agree

I agree that teachers no longer need to focus on facts. Instead of rote learning, schools should focus on skills, relationships and developing potential.

Coherent position summary 2: completely disagree

I disagree with the statement because I believe that the Internet cannot do the job of a good teacher. Furthermore, children already learn skills both at school and outside school, so there is no need for a change in focus.

Coherent position summary 3: partly agree (balanced view)

I agree to a certain extent. The Internet makes the teaching of facts easier and faster. Space can therefore be made on school timetables for more work on skills, relationships and potential.

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I think it’s important for you to be able to summarise your argument / position. Your summary should be completely clear and coherent.

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Essay structure

Here are some simple 4-paragraph essay plans:

Agree

  1. Introduction: topic and clear position

  2. Paragraph about why facts no longer need to be taught by teachers

  3. Paragraph about the skills that can be taught instead

  4. Conclusion: repeat / summarise the overall answer

Disagree

  1. Introduction: topic and clear position

  2. Paragraph about why teachers should continue to teach facts

  3. Paragraph about why a new focus on skills etc. is unnecessary

  4. Conclusion: repeat / summarise the overall answer

Balanced answer

  1. Introduction: topic and clear position

  2. Paragraph about using the Internet to speed up the teaching of facts / knowledge

  3. Paragraph about the additional skills etc. that can now be taught

  4. Conclusion: repeat / summarise the overall answer

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Ideas

Next we need to develop our main paragraph ideas. Here’s my own example, using the ‘completely agree’ position.

Note: I’ll use short sentences instead of notes, just to make my ideas clearer for you.

Main paragraph ideas (completely agree)

  1. The Internet allows children to do their own research and find facts about any topic. They can do this at home, or they can work in groups on computers in school. Instead of presenting facts, teachers can set tasks. For example, children can use Wikipedia to learn about historical events (give a named example). Research tasks can replace rote learning.

  2. Teachers can shift their focus to skills e.g. online research, IT skills, presentations. Group tasks can help to develop relationship skills: teamwork, delegating and negotiating. Less academic children may have good emotional intelligence, organisational abilities, leadership qualities or presenting skills: more ways for children to show their potential.

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A few warnings

  • Make sure that you don’t go off-topic. For example, you should not write an essay about the advantages and disadvantages of the Internet.

  • Try to stay as close as you can to the question. Keep mentioning the key ideas: teaching facts vs skills, relationship skills and developing potential.

  • Make sure your paragraph ideas are completely consistent with your overall position. For example, don’t say that you ‘completely agree’ and then write about both sides in a balanced way.

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Moving on to the introduction

Today’s lesson task is to write an introduction. Here’s how I’d like you to do it:

  1. Choose one of the three positions that I summarised above.

  2. Write a two-sentence introduction. Please don’t write more than two sentences.

  3. The first sentence should introduce the essay topic.

  4. The second sentence should answer the question, making your position clear.

Feel free to share your introduction in the ‘comments’ area below. I’ll check and comment on your work tomorrow, and then I’ll write lesson 3.