You should spend about 40 minutes on this task.
Schools should focus on academic success and passing examinations. Skills such as cookery, dressmaking and woodwork should not be taught at school as it is better to learn these from family and friends. To what extent 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.
It is true that many people believe that schools should only teach academic subjects and prepare students for formal exams. I disagree completely with this view, and I would argue that teaching practical life skills is essential.
Firstly, it is a mistake to tailor teaching strategies to the narrow focus of academic subjects and exam success. It is impossible for every student to pursue a successful career with fantastic job prospects in fields such as finance, medicine, law or education. All of these demand academic skills, but the job market for these professions is relatively small. Those who fail their exams will consider themselves as failures. Such negative feelings will inevitably shape a child’s personality and values during their formative years. Only a few students who are high-flyers will succeed and enjoy the material rewards of their academic success.
Secondly, while children need to acquire practical skills, there may be no family or friends to help them. Consider, for example, single-parent households, with no father to teach DIY skills, or households in which working mothers have no time to teach children to cook or sew. There are, too, many dysfunctional families in which, for whatever reasons, parental involvement in bringing up their offspring is almost completely absent. Yet children need to learn these domestic skills, and the only place for many of them to do this is in school. Otherwise, when they enter adult life, they will rely on expensive ready meals or on buying new clothes and furniture when all that is needed is a simple repair.
In conclusion, I totally disagree with an educational policy which focuses only on academic subjects and exam success. Schools must place equal value on life skills to ensure the full development of children.
a formal examination: a test conducted under strict, regulated conditions
to tailor teaching styles/ strategies: to make or prepare teaching styles following particular instructions
to pursue a successful career: to have a series of jobs in a particular area of work, with more responsibility as time passes
job prospects: the chances of being successful and having more opportunities at work
the job market: the market in which employers search for employees, and employees search for employers
to shape a child’s personality/ values: to decide or influence the form of a child’s personality
a high-flyer: someone who has the desire and ability to be very successful in their studies
to acquire experience/knowledge/skill: to gain experience/knowledge/skill by your own efforts or behavior
a single parent household: a family in which one person takes care of their child or children without a husband, wife or partner
DIY: ‘do it yourself’: the activity of making, repairing or decorating things in the home yourself, rather than paying someone to do it
working mothers: Mothers who have to go out to work as well as to look after children
formative years: a period of a person’s life, usually childhood, that has a big influence on the person they become later in life
a dysfunctional family: a family in which the relationships are bad or unhealthy
parental involvement: the act or process of parents when taking part in their children’s activities.
to bring up their offspring: to bring up means to raise; this is what you do as a parent with your children; you educate them, nurture them, etc.; offspring refers to your children
to enter adult life: the stage when adolescents are almost old enough to be legally independent of their parents
otherwise: used to state what the result would be if something did not happen or the situation was different