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TOPIC 2: Education and schooling

About Topic 2

The Education and schooling topic includes teaching methods and resources, approaches to exams and testing, school management, pupil motivation, behaviour and discipline, school sport, extra-curricular activities, higher/further education and course funding.

Topic 2 example Task

‘The Internet will never replace traditional course books in schools.’ How far do you agree with this prediction?

 

Band 9 model essay

There is a huge range of resources available to the modern teacher, and the right selection is crucial in delivering effective lessons. I agree that there will always be a place for course books in the school curriculum, despite the many benefits of the Internet.

Firstly, course books (whether conventional or digital) have been developed by pedagogical experts and designed to be incorporated into a subject syllabus, leading to testing procedures such as formal examinations or continuous assessment. This means that they are proven to improve students’ academic achievement, enhancing their potential for progression to further or higher education. Furthermore, the use of modern course books allows pupils to coordinate their studies as part of group work, hopefully making their lessons less teacher-led and more about autonomous learning. This in itself teaches study skills such as independent research and synthesising sources, rather than old-fashioned rote-learning. This is where the Internet, in fact, can play a useful part: to supplement and add to knowledge which the students are assimilating via their course books. However, it is the role of teachers and school management generally to ensure that use of the Internet remains a guided learning process, and not an exercise in data-gathering from Internet sources which may be unreliable or even misleading.

It is true that the Internet can be invaluable for adults (for example in distance learning or self-study modules) who are able to discriminate between sources and sift information to marshal their facts. However, this is a mature skill and we should not assume that school age pupils are ready to do this.

Overall, it appears that course books, with their quality and depth of material, are set to remain an integral part of the syllabus. The internet can be judged a useful supplement to this, if used carefully and under supervision.

(304 words)

EXPLANATION OF THE TOPIC VOCABULARY

Curriculum (chương trình giảng dạy) = the full range of subjects offered by a school or group of schools

E.g.      The curriculum in private schools is sometimes wider than in state schools, because they have more resources.

 

Pedagogical (experts) (chuyên gia giáo dục) = (experts in) education and teaching

E.g.      I admire pedagogical pioneers such as the Victorian English thinkers who began free schools for all children.

 

Syllabus (giáo trình) = the content of elements taught in a specific subject

E.g.      The syllabus for geography at my school included volcanoes, earthquakes and tidal waves, which we found fascinating.

 

Formal examinations (kì thi học thuật về nói và viết) = exams where students answer set written or spoken questions without assistance

 

Continuous assessment (đánh giá liên tục trong quá trình học/làm gì đó) = giving students marks for course work or projects, rather than formal exams

E.g.      At my school, our grades were based 50/50 on formal examinations and continuous assessment, which we thought was very fair to all the children.

Academic achievement (thành tựu học thuật) = the measurable performance of a student in marks, exam results etc

E.g.      In my country, children enjoy school, but academic achievement is frankly quite low.

 

Further education (giáo dục sau cấp 3, có thể là dạy nghề, Cao Đẳng,… cụm từ này thấp hơn 1 bậc so với cụm từ higher education) = education after leaving school at the minimum age

E.g.      Some governments encourage further education by allowing teenagers to claim benefits while they study.

 

Higher education (giáo dục ở Cao đẳng, Đại học) = education after age 18 at college or University, usually for a Degree

E.g.      When I pass IELTS, I plan to go on to higher education in Canada and do a degree in engineering.

 

Group work (làm việc nhóm) = study where pupils discuss and agree a project together

E.g.      Personally, I think that group work enables lazy children to do less work than the eager ones.

 

Teacher-led lessons (những bài học được thiết kế theo kiểu người Thầy là trung tâm) = traditional lessons where the teacher delivers a long talk and the students take notes

E.g.      In my country, lessons are still very teacher-led and interaction is rather limited.

 

Autonomous learning (việc tự học) = when a student learns through independent study and research

E.g.      At University, you are expected to be an autonomous learner far more than at High School, which is quite exciting for me.

 

 

Study skills (kĩ năng học tập) = the skills of organising, using and checking study work

E.g.      My study skills were rather weak until I read an excellent book by a Japanese pedagogical expert.

 

To synthesise sources (tổng hợp nhiều nguồn khác nhau) = to use a variety of sources and combine them in one project

E.g.      I use the Internet to synthesise my sources, and I always cite the origin of the information. (to cite sources = to acknowledge publicly)

 

Rote-learning (học vẹt) = learning by repetition and memorising items

E.g.      I used to think that rote-learning was a negative approach, but my recent experiences teaching in a South African school have changed my view.

 

To supplement (bổ sung) = to add extra content or material

E.g.      My supervisor said that I should supplement my essay with more examples of experiments.

 

To assimilate knowledge (tiếp thu và hiểu được kiến thức) = to absorb and understand it

E.g.      I always use a dictionary when I study in English, to help me assimilate new phrases.

 

Guided learning (học với sự hướng dẫn của Thầy/Cô) = learning under the supervision of a teacher

E.g.      Lessons in Primary Schools should always contain guided learning, otherwise the children will lose focus.

 

Data-gathering (thu thập dữ liệu) = collecting information, usually in numerical form

E.g.      Mobile phone companies employ many people in data-gathering Tasks, to see how users are using the phones and Internet.

 

Distance learning (học từ xa) = learning by the Internet or email, rather than face-to-face.

E.g.      My mother took an entire degree by distance learning over a period of five years.

 

Self-study (tự học) = studying using a course without a teacher’s involvement

E.g.      There are many self-study guides to improving your English, and some of them are actually quite good.

 

To discriminate between sources (phân loại nhiều nguồn khác nhau) = to decide whether one source is better or more reliable than another source

E.g.      Children should not study using unsupervised Internet access, because they can’t discriminate between the sources of information they find.

 

To sift information (sàng lọc thông tin) = to remove unwanted or less useful information

E.g.      I had to sift hundreds of pages of data to arrive at my conclusions when I did my thesis.

 

To marshal facts (sắp xếp sự việc/sự thật để hỗ trợ 1 quan điểm) = to organise facts in support of an idea

E.g.      In IELTS essays, you should marshal a few facts to support each idea in the argument.

 

An integral part of the syllabus (1 phần không thể thiếu của giáo trình) = essential, central or indispensable

E.g.      Nutrition is an integral part of food sciences these days

 

To work/study under supervision (làm việc/học tập dưới sự giám sát) = under the direction of a responsible person

E.g.      At college, I discovered I did not have to work under supervision all the time, and I was free to do independent research.