Transforming a model IELTS problem-solution essay into a university-level essay (Part 1)

So this time I’ve used a model IELTS problem/solution essay created by Christopher Pell of IELTS Advantage. His online school and website are excellent for online IELTS teaching and resources, and his approach to training students for the exam is amongst the best available. For this post, I’ve used coloured text to highlight some of the language points in the lesson. As before, the first half of the essay is given here, and the rest will follow in a later post. The original essay is on the IELTS Advantage site… https://www.ieltsadvantage.com/2015/05/11/ielts-student-behaviour/

In many countries schools have severe problems with student behavior. What do you think are the causes of this? What solutions can you suggest?

Introduction: IELTS model essay

In numerous nations educational institutions are facing serious difficulties with the conduct of their pupils. This essay will suggest that poor parenting is the root cause of this phenomenon and submit that a public awareness campaign is the most viable solution, followed by a reasoned conclusion.

Introduction: university version of IELTS model + analysis

In numerous nations educational institutions are facing serious difficulties with the conduct of their pupils. This is considered to be a significant problem as poor student behaviour at school can disrupt classes and reduce the quality of education for other pupils, as well as make teaching such a stressful job that experienced teachers leave and find other professions, a trend which also has a detrimental effect on the overall quality of high school education. This essay will suggest that poor parenting is the root cause of this phenomenon and submit that a public awareness campaign is the most viable solution, followed by a reasoned conclusion.

Language

The phrases in red are all common word combinations in academic and formal English, and using these combinations fluently is one characteristic of proficiency in English. In IELTS writing task 2 using word combinations like this is one way to improve your lexical resource score.

The verbs highlighted in blue are all suitable academic verbs. The verb ‘submit’, used in the thesis statement, has the meaning of ‘offering something for consideration by others’. Notice how it is used in combination with ‘that’ which is a common grammatical construction when describing thinking and speaking by others.

The green-highlighted phrase ‘This is considered to be…’ is a useful academic phrase as it indicates that the subject it introduces is one which being discussed within the media, universities and wider society.

Structure

The significant difference between the two introductions is the inclusion of a background information section (in italics) in the university version. This sentence gives some context to the topic, and notice how it doesn’t give other causes for bad behaviour, as these would clash with the main problem (poor parenting) given in the following sentence, the thesis statement.

First main paragraph: IELTS model essay

The principal cause of poor discipline in schools is poor discipline at home. Many mothers and fathers either do not have the time or the skills required to teach their youngsters the value of manners and respecting authority. This results in many young people not listening to their teachers, being rude and actively rebelling against rules and regulations. For example, a recent study by Cambridge University found that 1 in 3 teenagers would refuse to comply with a rule if they didn’t agree with it, compared to just 1 in 8 in a similar study in 1990.

First main paragraph: university version + analysis

The principal cause of poor discipline in schools is poor discipline at home. Many mothers and fathers either do not have the time or the skills required to teach their youngsters the value of manners and respecting authority. This results in many young people not listening to their teachers, being rude and actively rebelling against rules and regulations. For example, a recent study by Cambridge University (Hopkins, 2016) found that 1 in 3 teenagers would refuse to comply with a rule if they didn’t agree with it, compared to just 1 in 8 in a similar study in 1990 (Britton, 1990). However, the two studies focused on differing areas of school regulation: Hopkins and his team were interested in mobile phone use in school, whereas Britton was investigating the pupils’ responses to health and safety regulations. A close comparison of their work suggests that each pupil has a wide variety of responses to rules and regulations.

Language

Again, as in the introduction, common word combinations used in formal English are highlighted in red. Some of these phrases, like ‘principal cause’ and ‘recent study’ can be used in most essays, and so are worth memorizing.

The verbs in blue are all frequently used in academic English. This time notice how ‘results in’ and ‘focused on’ and ‘comply with’ are phrasal or multi-word verbs; these kinds of verb are generally used less in academic English than general English, but this paragraph is an exception.

Structure

Firstly, note that the references to the studies in the text are given in-text references which provide the names of each author and the dates of publication.

Secondly, the university version has an added analytical section in italics which gives a critical comparison of the two sources. This is a strategy to include more critical thinking in the essay, and it can be repeated in most essays.

 

 

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *