IELTS Cue Card Sample 13 - A subject taught in your school

IELTS Speaking Part 2: IELTS Cue Card/ Candidate Task Card.

Describe a subject taught in your school.

You Should Say:

  • what subject it was and who taught it
  • how the teacher taught it
  • what you learned from the class

and explain how it helped you.

Follow-up Questions:
• Is there any difference between the traditional and modern educational systems?
• What are the pros and cons of the current educational system in your country?
• Do you think it is necessary to give comment or criticism to teachers?
• How can a teacher make learning more interesting?
• Are there any subjects that shouldn’t be taught in school? Why?
• How can the school help students overcome a problem with a certain subject?
• Do you think that visiting different websites has benefits for a student?

Possible Answer:
The subject that I'd like to describe is Physics that was taught in our school. We had this subject in each year of our high school and each year a new teacher used to teach us the subject. Even we had to read physics in college as Science was my major. I remember Mr Alex, Burter, John, David and Mrs Jeniffer took Physics in different years. We were lucky to have good Physics teachers who could make the subject interesting and enjoyable.

Our teachers used to tell us stories first and then would explain the theory, experiment or math of the textbooks. They would then relate the story with the study. Later they would explain us the real examples and facts. Sometimes they used to take us to the Physics labs and explain how something works. I have learned numerous things of physics from simple definition of mass to the complex explanation of Einstein's Theory of Relativity. My foundation of physics grew up and expanded with the help of those teachers.

The subject itself is utterly interesting if one can have a passion for it. It is one such subject that one would start loving it if s/he starts understanding the underlying concepts of it. Physics is all around us and the lesson I learned from my School had helped me greatly throughout my higher academic years.

Tips for answering this cue card topic:

You should pick a real academic subject like Math, English, Physics, Chemistry, Literature, and Biology to answer this cue card. Then quickly take some notes including the following:

1. In which class it was it taught.
2. Do not pick a subject taught at your college or university level as the cue card is asking you to talk about a subject taught in your school.
3. Try to remember a teacher's name. You can mention multiple teachers' name as the same subject in school is taught by different teachers in different classes.
4. Give a short detail what the subject. For example, the Geography would discuss the Earth, the other planet in the solar system, atmosphere, and climate changes etc. and you should mention those.
5. Next describe how the teacher taught the subject and what things you learned from the class.
6. Mention some interesting things you learned from the class and how the teacher made things easier to understand for you.
7. Describe how interested you were about the subject and the class.
8. Relate how this subject has later helped you/ influenced you in your education and learning process.
9. Finally give a conclusion by mentioning how beneficial the subject for students.

If you pick Math, try to focus on the following issues:

1. The teacher was very good explaining the intricacies of the subject.
2. You learned many theories and formulas of math.
3. This teacher explained how the math would be helpful for the rest of the life and academic years.
4. You learned the importance of Math for higher study.
5. The teacher not only explained the math from the academic book but also has taken interesting and thought-provoking math from other sources.

If you prefer to talk about Literature, say:

1. The teacher helped you enjoy the literature.
2. S/he told stories of classic literature that you still remember.
3. S/he was a gifted storyteller and she had been successful creating your interest in literature.
4. You became a good reader because of the classes and the teacher.

Similarly, you can talk about any subject that you were interested in your school level. In your whole conversation, you should talk about the subject itself for about 2 minutes , 1 minutes about the teacher and his/her way of teaching and for the remaining time say how benefitted you had been from those classes. 

Part 3 – Two-way discussion:

Q: Is there any difference between the traditional and modern education systems?
Answer: I can't really know for sure because I have graduated from school many years ago, but I would try and say that the answer to this question. In the traditional system, teachers are present and have an active role during the class because they do everything on their own. More precisely, verbal communication, interaction and the usage of blackboard are the main elements of this type of system. Books, pens, pencils, lecture and question-answer, written exam and grading are the main ingredients of the traditional education system.

On the contrary, in the modern education system, teachers' role is restricted as technology does many things instead. With the use of computers and virtual classrooms, the method of teaching has changed to a great extent in the modern education system. Projector, online classes, assignments, online learning system, online exam and assessments are the main ingredients of modern education system.

I believe that with both types of educational systems, students will be able to reap benefits as long as they are willing to study in collaboration with their schoolmasters and academic activities.

Q: What are the pros and cons of the current educational system in your country?
Answer:This is an important issue and I can't really be accurate because as I mention before I am not aware of the way schools function these days, but I will answer from my experience so far.

A positive thing is that a combination of traditional and modern education methods are applied in our education system and this undoubtedly leads to better results. To illustrate, students are motivated to study and in this way, they develop their cognitive skills, acquire mental capabilities, assimilate the information provided more easily and they also build a well- rounded personality. Some other positive sides of our education system are that the syllabus is updated, the teachers and well trained, the schools have better learning environment, the education ministry is quite positive about improving the education sector and use of technology has been widely accepted in our education sector.

Moving to the downsides, many teachers don't deal with their students as much as needed and this can cause detrimental effects upon children. Moreover, better students evaluation, question answering and feedback from students about teachers are needed to be implemented.

Q: Do you think it is necessary to give comment or criticism to teachers?
Answer: I strongly believe that criticising teachers isn't the appropriate course of action. The best and most effective method is giving comment and making plausible and constructive conversations about the issues that concern parents and students. Everyone should bears in mind that teaching is an amazingly difficult and fundamental occupation and parents should collaborate and interact with teachers and not assail them. Besides, it would be good to think that from the moment that someone chose to become a teacher, they want the best for their students' educational level.

Q: How can a teacher make learning more interesting?
Answer: It's a really interesting and useful question that concerns most of the people, including teachers and parents.

To begin, allow me to say that teachers play the most important role in teaching and sharing knowledge among students. For example, when I was in my secondary school, the most difficult subject for me was geography because of the overwhelming information about the different countries. My schoolmaster tried to make it more interesting by telling us different things about each country such us, their brands, monuments, customs and famous people. In this way, he not only made the subject exciting but also managed to provide us with the needed information and achieved his goal. Nowadays that technology constitutes an essential part of everyday life, teachers have the ability and the opportunity to make things better and more interesting by connecting students to music, movies and documentaries that are relevant to the study. It is undoubtedly a really effective way to stimulate students' interest and imagination.

Personally, I think that passion for teaching, good relationship with students, telling stories that connect to the lessons and use of technology can make learning more interesting, engaging and effective.

Q: Are there any subjects that shouldn’t be taught in school? Why?
Answer: I don't think that this should happen. My personal belief is that everything that is taught in a school is useful and provides important information to students. Of course, there are different types of subjects and among them, some of them are more educational and useful and some others not, but I would say that it's subjective and depends on a student's personal aims and objectives. For example, I wanted to be an economist since secondary school and the requisite subjects for this were mathematics, business administration and physics. It was my personal preference but it didn't mean that history, literature and ancient greek should be withdrawn. So, I don't agree with that and I support that all types of subjects should exist in a school curriculum.

Q: How can the school help students to overcome a problem with a certain subject?
Answer: That's an important matter that happens to almost everyone throughout their school years. However, there are some strategies that can be implemented to inhibit this kind of problem. Teacher's attitude is an essential element that helps children change their mindset about a specific subject and see it from another perspective. Schoolmasters should urge their student to deal with this subject and make them understand it by modern methods rather than the conventional ones. Furthermore, they should encourage and not humiliate them in case children can't demystify the information provided. I believe if teachers and the school authority are sincere about helping students who have problems in specific subjects, this will be resolved with the help of reference books, consultancy and technology like the internet.

Q: Do you think that visiting different websites has benefits for a student?
Answer: Like any other technology, Internet and websites have both pros and cons for students. However, it is not the problem of the technology itself, rather the one who use it. So, if students visit websites which are reliable, offers helpful information and study materials, they will definitely benefit from this. From different websites, students are able to read a wide variety of things, but they should make sure that the sites they access are reliable and provide accurate and true information.

On the contrary, if a student visits websites that are not reliable, not suitable for their age, and offer only entertainment and no education-related materials, then it might be negative for them.

[Part 3 answers are written by Mary, UK, Economist & Business Consultant]

If you can talk about this cue card you would also be able to answer the following cue cards with little changes:

1. Describe a teacher from your school.
2. Describe something you learned from your school.
3. Talk about a subject you enjoyed in your school.
4. Describe a subject taught in your school/ college/ university.
5. Talk about your favourite teacher from school.
6. Talk about a teacher you still remember from school.

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