Education must rank as the number one IELTS topic. The question below tackles online education.
The instructions simply ask to what extent you agree with a stated position. Since there is no clear cut two-part division (e.g. discuss the advantages and disadvantages), it follows a five-paragraph model.
Introduction: with our position
1st Body Paragraph: advantages of studying at school
2nd Body Paragraph: advantages of having a teacher
3rd Paragraph: disadvantages of homeschooling
Conclusion: repeating our position
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So much information is available online that schools are no longer necessary; children can study just as effectively at home.
To what extent do you agree or disagree?
The vast majority of children cannot study as effectively at home as they can in school. The outcomes of education are not dependent merely on the availability of information; equally important is the guidance of a capable educator.
An educator’s role, be they a teacher, private tutor, parent or guardian, is twofold. Firstly: to aid understanding, stimulate discussion and inspire creativity of thought – all vital qualities in developing minds. Secondly: to ensure the child’s learning is clearly structured, with a set curriculum and also, although of lesser importance, a routine. Since most children don’t have access to such a person in their home lives, schools are essential.
Effective education teaches a child to be inquisitive. By providing different contexts, introducing new perspectives and asking challenging questions, a skilled educator empowers children to become critical thinkers. Without an educator, a child can only engage in rote learning – leaving them without those critical skills.
Keeping children ‘on track’ in their education, moreover, can be no easy feat. Anecdotal reports from parents who home-schooled their children during the Covid-19 pandemic suggests most found the experience – even for just a few months or weeks – to be very challenging. Left to set their learning agenda and schedule entirely alone, it is unlikely a child would achieve the same educational outcomes as their peers working from a curriculum. The only viable alternative is, therefore, to attend school.
In conclusion: schools – or more specifically, schoolteachers – play an indispensable role in their pupils’ development. Few children who learn exclusively at home, online, and independently will see comparable learning outcomes as if they had attended school.
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