Cue Card # 18 – A teacher who has influenced you in your education
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IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.
Describe a teacher who has influenced you in your education.
You should say:
• where you met him/her
• what subject he/she taught
• what was special about him/her
and explain why this person/teacher has influenced you so much.
[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you are going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]
Model Answer 1:
I consider myself exceptionally fortunate to have been taught and guided by some excellent teachers throughout my academic life. Among them, I would like to talk about Mr Smith, who has been an extraordinary teacher, an exceptional mentor, and who has had a great influence on my studies.
I met Mr Smith for the first time when I was in fourth grade. He was our math teacher. Initially, we thought that he would be a tough teacher and we would have to be very polite in front of him. We got this impression mostly because of his serious look and tidy dress-up. But soon we found that he was a very friendly person and we did not have to be “very polite” to him.
He never made things complicated and tried over and over again to explain something to us. He had a unique way of teaching and could explain complex topics very easily. Thus everything we learned from him was interesting,m and that’s why we remember most of the theories and techniques of math he taught us.
I would say he has had a great influence on my education because he helped me build a strong foundation in mathematics. My major in college was science, and mathematics was the most important subject at that level. I have always been good at math, and that’s mainly because of Mr Smith – who had a major role in making the subject interesting to me. Before I learned math from Mr Smith, math was even intimidating to me, and I considered mathematics to be a complex and uninteresting subject. But his teaching and influences changed my way of thinking about math, and later on, math became one of my favourite subjects for which I admire this teacher greatly.
Sample Answer 2:
His name is Mr Malcolm Tyler, and I met this great science teacher for the first time after one of my science classes about 10 or 11 years ago when I was just a 6th grader. He asked me why I needed to see him, and I said that I was having a tough time understanding one of his physics lessons. Inspecting the “little me” with a great smile on his face, Mr Tyler told me to see him the next day as if he was expecting this kind of “trouble” at the end of his class!
Anyway, I obliged and visited him the very next day. And, it took one of my favourite teachers, if not the most favourite of all time, only about 60 seconds to explain the entire lesson as clearly as the water of Lake Mashu in Japan. Having received an award for the “teacher of the year”, a couple of years ago, Mr Tyler wasn’t just good at teaching Physics, but also was equally adept at teaching Chemistry and Biology. In fact, very rarely have I seen a teacher explaining difficult lessons and things with such ease! My Tyler sir, indeed, was a special teacher not only because of his “depth of knowledge” in his subjects but also because of his great helping attitude.
I still remember how my favourite teacher encouraged us for free “private lessons” to study and understand science so that we could take our country forward with our talents and hard work. In fact, it was because of the constant push and encouragement of my dear teacher that I got admission to one of the most prestigious engineering colleges in my country. Being a great mentor both inside and outside of my school, Mr Tyler never hesitated to admonish us if we ever failed to do things on time. Million thanks to him, for he has truly inspired me to be the better person that I am today!
Sample Answer 3:
I met Mr John Markus, a great teacher and mentor, in my elementary school when I was a student at Agiou Georgiou School. With his support and suggestions, I have crossed many barriers in my life – both academic and personal. So, I am really grateful to him. Without his guidance, I would not have been able to arrive in this position today.
Mr John Markus was our general science teacher in the school. He was a great teacher and had some unconventional yet effective teaching methods. He hardly used books or other teaching materials for teaching in the classroom but explained the lessons with such command and ease that we all understood them. Interestingly, he knew all of our names which was a great mystery to me.
He was special in the sense that he knew how to teach the students so that they understand the subject and can connect the lesson with real-life events and examples. Mr Markus also supported his students with personal matters and mentored them like his own children. Moreover, he used to remain in touch with the parents of the children. As a result, he turned into a popular figure among the parent community as well.
This teacher has influenced my education to a great extent. He inspired me to study hard and taught me the importance of education not only for a career but also for enlightenment in life. Whenever I met him with some sort of trouble, he guided me with a way out. So, I have always admired him and I still do.
Tips for answering this cue card question:
First, talk about a teacher you remember and whom you liked a lot. Then, say his/her name and the class/grade he/she taught you. Also, mention which subject she taught and what you have learned from him/her. Following are some of the reasons a teacher becomes influential for a student that you can talk about:
» This teacher’s way of teaching is very effective and interesting.
» He/she has a great personality and leads an exemplary life.
» He/she tells stories to make the subject and topic interesting.
» He/she is a famous teacher in your locality who also taught your elder brother, father etc.
» He/she has a great personality, and because of that, students like him/her very much.
» He/she is successful in explaining difficult topics in an easy and intuitive way.
» He/she behaves very politely with all, and never discriminates among students.
» He/she is brave and speaks the truth no matter how bitter it is.
» He/she teaches moral values as well as inspires students to study properly.
» Apart from teaching, he/she does some social works, creative stuff which is beneficial for others.
» He/she is a great orator and has an exceptional personality.
Part 3: Details Discussion:
Discussion topics: Developments in education
Q. How has education changed in your country in the last 10 years?
Answer: The truth is that ten years ago the education system wasn’t the same as it is now and many aspects have changed in our education system. In the past, teachers used to engage conventional methods of education to teach their students, and the only mean they utilised was blackboards and textbooks.
Furthermore, as far as I’m concerned, schoolmasters paid more attention to their student’s weaknesses, problems and needs and the bonds between them were stronger than it is today. Moving to the present, the existing ties between teachers and children have become more impersonal and unfortunately, many teachers willingly keep a distance from students in the classroom. In addition, technological advances play a vital role in teaching and the methods used in the classrooms these days.
To conclude, I prefer the past educational system (as it was 10 years ago or so) to it now. Education and teaching aren’t only about the internet and technology. The internet does not make someone literate, but a strong bond between a teacher and a student does.
Q. What changes do you foresee in the next 50 years?
Answer: It seems to me that in the forthcoming future, the changes will be tremendous. First of all, it won’t be necessary for teachers to be present in the classroom as everything is going to be accomplished by the use of technology. For example, students will become knowledgeable about different matters from the comfort of their home and they will correspond with their tutors online rather than having personal relationships. Of course, it still happens these days to a certain extent, but in the next 50 years, I believe that this will be the way of teaching exclusively.
Going further, I think that apart from some basic subjects such as literature and mathematics, other subjects will be optional and each child will have the opportunity to choose the subject they want to take even in primary schools. From my point of view, I cannot say for sure if this is the appropriate course of action, but one thing is clear, continuous education and learning will be accepted and embraced by all.
Discussion topics: A national education system
Q. How do the expectations of today’s school leavers compare with those of the previous generation?
Answer: In the past school graduates just hoped to find a job in order to earn a salary and cover their living expenses. Some of them did not even look for a job but continued their family business. They didn’t have as high expectations as school leavers have these days.
In many cases, nowadays school-leavers don’t have realistic expectations, and they wish to have a higher position with a great remuneration, even without professional experience. Furthermore, these days knowledge isn’t the only thing required for a good job as skills, experience, discipline and adaptability, to name but a few, are prerequisites in order for someone to enter the labour market. That, however, was not the case in the past.
Q. What role do you think extracurricular activities play in education?
Answer: It is commonly believed that extracurricular activities play an important role in education and have many benefits both in personal and professional life. I quite agree with that as such activities enhance our capability and improve our way of thinking. First of all, children with extracurricular activities learn how to collaborate and co-exist with other peers and learn about soft skills. In addition, a great opportunity is provided to them to interrelate with others and develop and evolve their interpersonal skills. Hence, these types of activities can create a feeling of contribution, as children are involved in different things and this will lead them to boost their self-esteem. Lastly, all these advantages will help children build a well-rounded personality and an exceptional character and will benefit the school and teachers by having well-mannered and conscious students.
Discussion topics: Different styles/methods of teaching and learning
Q. What method of learning works best for you?
Answer: Practical work and lap experiments work best for me. I believe that when we do something of our own, be it in a school laboratory or classroom, we tend to understand and remember them better than just studying them theoretically. I have always learned better when I did something personally.
Q. How beneficial do you think it is to group students according to their level of ability?
Answer: I believe grouping students based on their talents and ability reap substantial benefits primarily because it helps teachers plan class lessons more effectively. In this method, teachers know how much effort they have to put into teaching something in the classroom and how they should deliver the lecture. They do not need to explain the same lesson to different students and take care of individual students as their level of ability is almost the same.
[Part three answers are written by – Mary, Economist & Business Consultant, UK]
If you can answer this cue card topic, you should be able to answer the following topics as well:
1. Describe a person from your childhood whom you still remember.
2. Describe a teacher from your school/college whom you want to meet.
3. Describe your math/literature/history teacher from school.
4. Describe an old person whom you admire.
5. Describe a subject taught in your school.
6. Describe a teacher who has helped you in your education greatly.
7. Describe an exemplary person from your hometown.
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