You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
People say that it is a waste of time for high school students to learn literature such as novels and poems. Do you agree or disagree?
Give reasons for your answer and include any relevant examples from your own knowledge or experience.
Write at least 250 words.
Many people hold the view that high school students should focus on practical subjects, such as vocational courses, as well as on the sciences, in order to prepare young people for the world of work or higher education. While these skills are clearly valuable to the community, I strongly disagree that the study of novels, poems and plays should therefore be neglected in high schools.
Firstly, in today’s world, literature has an important role to play in the economy of all countries. The publishing industry is a multi-billion dollar business internationally. For example, the Harry Potter fantasy novels have sold millions of copies worldwide. Then, in terms of working in the entertainment industry, writers are needed to adapt and produce works of literary fiction for television and internet channels. Many of these writers of the future will have been inspired by novels and poems in their high school days.
Secondly, the literary heritage of humanity cannot be calculated only in economic terms. If high school students are not encouraged to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of novels
and poems, then the creative writers of the next generation will lack the role models of literary geniuses like Shakespeare or Tolstoy. They must study the language, the techniques, and the portrayal of characters in order to become talented playwrights, novelists or poets. They will learn the skills to appeal to audiences by communicating ideas, images and stories to make people reflect, laugh and cry. In this way, the culture of a society is passed on and enriched through the generations.
In conclusion, I would argue that it makes not only economic sense, but that it is essential in cultural terms, for students to have the opportunity to study novels and poems in their high school years.
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
higher education: education at college or university level
Example: Some school leavers prefer to start work rather than enter higher education.
Vocabulary from the arts:
works of literary fiction: types of literature which describe imaginary people and events, not real ones
Example: It takes enormous creativity to write works of literary fiction, and the greatest writers are rightly considered literary geniuses.
literary and artistic heritage: the tradition of writing or painting that a country, city or town has had for many years, distinguishing it as an important part of its character
Example: Visitors to Britain can enjoy the rich literary and artistic heritage by going to such places as the birthplace of Shakespeare and the National Art Gallery in London.
the aesthetic qualities of something: The qualities related to beauty and understanding the beauty of something.
Example: One advantage of studying the arts is that students learn to appreciate the aesthetic qualities of paintings, literature and music.
a literary genius: a person with outstanding ability in writing
Example: Although not every child will become a literary genius, it is still important for students to practice creative writing at school.
the portrayal of something/somebody: the act of showing or describing something/somebody in a book, painting, play or film
Example: In the past, the portrayal of women in art was often as possessions, owned by rich men.
a talented playwright: a person who writes excellent plays for the theatre
Example: Directors of theatres must encourage talented playwrights by staging their plays for theatre-goers.
to appeal to audiences: to attract or interest those who go to watch a play or film.
Example: Plays which deal with contemporary social issues are likely to appeal to audiences.
publishing [noun]: the business of preparing and printing books and magazines and selling them to the public
Example: He works in the publishing business, specialising in medical and scientific textbooks.
to inspire [verb]: to give someone the motivation and desire to do something well
Example: She was inspired by the Harry Potter books to write her own story.
role model [noun]: a person or organisation that people admire and try to copy
Example: Martin Luther King is a role model for many young people today in The Black Lives Matter movement.