You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Some people think that children should aim to do their best at whatever they are doing. Others disagree. Discuss both views and give your own opinion.
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Some people believe that children should always be encouraged to give their best efforts, no matter what activity they are doing. Others, however, emphasise that childhood is a time for fun and play before entering adult life. I agree with the view that children should aim to do their best in everything, but always in the context of cooperation and consideration for the needs of others.
On the one hand, having fun and simply playing are important aspects of growing up. These are things which shape a child’s personality by stimulating creativity. Whether they are painting, listening to stories or playing games with their friends, children are able to enjoy the experience of childhood without anxiety about the need to do well. Instead, they can just enjoy themselves in a non-competitive environment.
On the other hand, children should aim to excel in their studies and in their leisure activities. By trying their hardest at school, for example, children develop a pattern of behaviour which will prepare them for later life, such as doing vocational courses or sitting
exams. In terms of sports or hobbies, children should also be motivated to do their best. However, it is important to follow the Olympic ideal of friendship through endeavour, rather than to have a win-at-all costs attitude. It is a mistake to foster a competitive spirit, putting personal achievement as the objective. For instance, the years of dedicated training of young athletes illustrates the dangers of becoming the best for the wrong reasons. Youngsters may be tempted to use illegal substances like performance-enhancing drugs in order to reach the top.
In conclusion, I would argue that children should be encouraged to learn that it is both satisfying and fun to always do their best.
Vocabulary from family and children:
to enter adult life: the stage when adolescents are almost old enough to be legally independent of their parents
Example: Parents who have devoted time and thought to raising and educating their children have given them a good prepartion to enter adult life.
to shape a child’s personality: to decide or influence the form of a child’s personality
Example: Parents are very influential in shaping their children’s personality through the example that they set.
patterns of behaviour: ways of acting and doing things (either positive or negative)
Example: Patterns of behaviour copied from parents often influence the way that children grow up.
Vocabulary from education:
vocational courses: courses which provide students with the skills and knowledge that they need to do a particular job
Example: Governments should extend the provision of vocational courses for those who want to learn a trade, for example as electricians, plumbers, mechanics.
to sit an exam: to take an exam
Example: Some students claim that they feel more motivated to study when they have to sit an exam at the end of their course.
Vocabulary from sport and exercise:
the Olympic ideal: the ultimate goal is not to win but to know that you have taken part and done your best in a competition
Example: Unfortunately, professional sport is just another branch of the entertainment industry, and the Olympic ideal has been lost.
a win-at-all-costs attitude: an idea that a match or competition must be won, using all possible means
Example: Youth sport is being ruined by a win-at-all-costs attitude, which includes cheating and breaking the rules in order to achieve victory.
to foster a competitive spirit: encourage the desire to beat others in a sports event
Example: The problem with encouraging sport at school is that it fosters a competitive spirit among students, instead of teaching children simply to do the best that they can in all aspects of life.
to use illegal substances: to use drugs or medicines which are not allowed under the rules of a competition
Example: In professional sport, it has become increasingly common to use illegal substances in order to win at all costs.
performance-enhancing drugs: drugs which improve the ability of a sportsperson to compete
Example: Athletes who take performance-enhancing drugs are not only cheating, but they also set a bad example for young people.
aspect [noun]: a particular part or feature of a situation or a problem
Example: There are certain aspects of the conflict which were not reported at the time.
to excel [verb]: to be extremely good at doing something
Example: She excelled at music at school, and is now playing in an orchestra.
endeavour [noun]: an attempt to achieve an aim
Example: The endeavour to land the first man on the Moon was finally successful.
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