Describe an idea for improving something at work or college - Cue Card # 299

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

Describe an idea you had for improving something at work or college.

You should say:

  • when and where you had your idea
  • what your idea was
  • who you told about your idea

and explain why you thought your idea would make an improvement.

[You will have to talk about the topic for one to two minutes. You have one minute to think about what you're going to say. You can make some notes to help you if you wish.]


 

Model Answer 1:
This is absolutely a great topic to talk about. Before I start my talk, I would like to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to speak about an idea I had to improve something at my college or office.

I have been working as a "Business Relation Manager" in a large multination company for the last couple of years. But I will never forget the days when I worked as a "Call Centre Agent" during my college years. This was my first job and I had learned quite a lot from it. As a student, I took the job to support my finances as well as to gain some practical experiences. Within a few weeks of my joining, I felt that there was a serious problem in the office despite a great working environment. I did realise that employees were working really hard but the management was not happy about their performance as they expected continual progress.

I had been working sincerely and vigorously too, and when I learnt that the higher management is really disappointed with our performance, it deteriorated my spirit. I was thinking really hard for a solution as I knew that it will worsen the situation if it continues and I won't be able to work there anymore. After a day or two, I was talking to our manager and then an idea popped in my head!

I realised that we did not have any direct communication with the higher authority in the office and they were getting all the updates from their managers only. I thought that must have been creating some confusions and miscommunication. I shared my idea with my team-lead and manager and they also agreed that we should talk to the higher management more often and have one of them among us during the office time so that they could realise how sincerely their employees were working. 

Initially, I was not sure if this would eliminate the gaps between us (employees) and them (the management) but when I, along with my manager, talked to one of them, I was absolutely convinced that it would work. In fact, when we had been given the opportunity to meet someone from the higher authority once in a week and one of them started spending more time with us during the office hours, the dissatisfaction and misunderstanding were mostly gone and we had been better rewarded for our hard work later on. I learnt an important lesson from that event- "Never be shy to share an idea with your colleagues if you are convinced that it would make a difference."



Model Answer 2:
There always are areas in our lives, be it at our home or office, in which we can bring some innovations. But, we don’t really go for such improvements because they seem to be difficult. However, with the right ideas and approach, we can always bring such developments, and today, I would like to talk about one such idea that, I think, would bring some much-needed improvements to my work.

Anyway, there are many things at my work which I can really be proud of, but as far as, the team works among the staff and co-ordination across the different departments are concerned, I don’t really think that much is really going on to make us proud. Apparently, all the mid-level and junior-level employees at my company think that their own departments, in which they work, are more important than other departments. So, as a junior staff of my company, who hardly has anything to lose, I have decided to put forth a proposal to the upper management which would make it mandatory for all the staff to work at every department for at least 2 working days in rotation every month so that they all understand the value of everybody’s efforts and works.

I got this idea from one of the senior brothers’ companies which had almost the same kind of issue. It would be around three years ago when the idea strike me since I was really thinking about the solution to the problem that I was facing in my office. I know that it won’t be that easy to implement this idea it would force them to change (and change is what everybody “hates” at work) their daily routines in a significant way, but it’s worth the shot. I told a couple of my colleagues about my ideas and they all thought that it is a great idea that would make an impact if implemented properly. 

I thought that the idea would bring some positive changes in my workplace mainly because everybody will be treated fairly and equally in this scheme. Besides, in this way, I also believe that since all staff would be able to try something new or new activities/works at least a couple of days per month, they would be able to break free from the monotonous work schedules at least for some times.


 

Model Answer 3:
Since I am a student and have never worked for a company, my ideas are mostly related to the college where I study. Today, I would like to talk about one such idea that I had that I thought would bring some positive changes to my college.

Engaging two teaching assistants for each class is an idea that would very positively improve the study environment and facility in our college/ university. It is a large college with more than seven thousand students. Each class has more than 40 students and not all of them are equally talented and focused on the lessons. So if the college authority arranges to enrol two promising and talented students who have the capability to manage the classes and assist the teachers in explaining lessons to other students, that would be a great aid for all the students who often struggle to understand the lessons but do not ask questions to the teachers.

In fact, that would be a great initiative by the college administration to help all the students with their lessons. I got the idea from a website of a renowned university that explained how they enrol teaching assistants and this process helps all the students of a class. I have told about it to a few friends of mine who also thought that it was a great idea.

I do not think it would be very difficult to implement. The college authority needs to discuss this whole idea and then finally decide the process. That might require some administrative and decision-making level meetings. The extra budget that would be required would not be a big hassle for the college to support. So, in my opinion, I do not see any major obstacles to implementing this idea.

From my experience, I can say that only one-third of the whole students in a class can catch and fully understand the lectures delivered by the teachers. The remaining two-thirds of students of a class neither understand the lessons nor ask questions to the teachers to explain things again. Many students do not ask the questions they have directly to the teachers and thus always remain as the back-benchers. If they get teaching assistants from their classmates, they would surely raise their questions to those TA and would be greatly benefitted. The overall study quality would improve and the results of the college would also improve dramatically.

 

Part 3 – Details discussion:

Topic - Ideas and education:

Q. Some people think that education should be about memorising the important ideas of the past. Do you agree or disagree? Why?
Answer: I disagree with the view that education should about memorizing the important ideas of the past mainly because that would essentially undermine the whole purpose of education. In fact, education (proper education that is) is like a “ray of light” with which we can see, learn and understand the things around us so that we can pick and choose what’s good for us and what’s bad for us for in the present time as well as in future. Besides, everything doesn’t repeat in the same way at present time or future time as it did in the past, and therefore memorizing important ideas of the past won’t do any good when the situation is different. Finally, innovation and creativity of a person are far more important than the amount of information he or she can memorise, and from this perspective, we should focus on creating a generation who are creative and can bring innovative solutions to problems rather than memorise past ideas only.

Q. Should education encourage students to develop and share their own ideas?
Answer: Yes, I do think that education should encourage students to develop and share own ideas because this practice would encourage them to be “creative” and confident in their own abilities. Besides, sharing ideas among each other would inspire them also respect each other’s opinion in a way that would collectively benefit our entire society. Finally, this kind of practice would also allow the students to understand the “bigger picture” (understanding what things are happening and “why” in the greater scheme of thing) by looking past their differences and their damaging effects.

Q. How do you think teachers could help students to develop and share their own ideas?
Answer: In order to help students to develop and share their own ideas, teachers should first let them know that they (students) also have many great ideas and that those ideas are also important. Besides, teachers could also arrange for some kinds of “incentives” or “rewards” (like offering “extra credits” for the ideas) in order to encourage their students. Finally, teacher themselves can actually have some “real debates” with their students on burning issues that are affecting their society so that the students feel more “engaged” in real-time.

Topic - Ideas in the workplace:

Q. Should employers encourage their workers to have new ideas about improving the company? Why?
Answer: Yes, I do think that employers should encourage their workers to have new ideas about improving the company mainly because, after all, it’s the workers who keep the company running at the end of the day. Besides, when the workers are allowed to have new ideas and implement them accordingly, they feel more “empowered” and “responsible” in order to deliver the best results. On top of that, this practice creates a rather congenial atmosphere at work where workers and employers co-operate even more among each other.

Q. Do you think people sometimes dislike ideas just because they are new? Why? 
Answer: No, I don’t think that people sometimes dislike ideas just because they are new as, in fact, there are many other factors besides that. But probably the main factor is that people are not given ‘enough’ time to get themselves immersed in the new ideas and learn about their pros and cons. Another factor is that they are not offered “enough compensation” most of the times for their extra time and efforts, which they used, to eventually learn about the new ideas and implement them.

Q. What is more difficult: having new ideas or putting them into practice? Which is more important for a successful company?
Answer: In my humble opinion, none of the things, which involve “having new ideas” and “putting them into practice" is so easy. Both are important and could be difficult in times for ordinary companies.

But they could be implemented if the work environment encourages and nurture the creativity and dedication of the employees. A successful company always very carefully nurture the culture of having new ideas and putting them into practice without putting any extra burden on its resources, such as “human resources” and ‘assets’. Besides, a successful company is also dynamic enough to adjust and adapt almost regularly and, as such, the issue of having new ideas and putting them into practice becomes easier. However, it can be difficult for some ordinary companies.

 

Similar Cue Card Topics

Your ability to talk about this Cue Card Topic would enable you to talk about the following Cue Card Topics as well:

1. Describe a positive idea you have.
2. Describe a change you would like to see in your work/ study place.
3. Describe a part-time job you have done.
4. Describe a suggestion you have to make your college/university a better place.
5. Describe something you have successfully implemented in your college.
6. Describe a success or achievement you have.

 

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