Tuesday, 13 August 2013

Respecting the Elderly (Task 2 Writing)

For your consideration, a recent topic which has appeared on IELTS exams in several locations:

In many countries today, insufficient respect is shown to older people.
What do you think may be the reasons for this?
What problems might this cause in society?

This is not a typical argument-based essay topic. In this case, you must write a factual report, giving examples to support your ideas. Make sure to touch on all parts of the question. You could follow a paragraph structure as follows:

  • Introduction
  • Paragraph giving causes for disrespect toward older people
  • Paragraph giving effects of disrespect on society
  • Conclusion, with suggestions for how to improve the situation

It's okay to give your opinion at the end of the essay, but you should mostly use a factual approach.

Watch this video for a humorous take on this issue! 

Below you can find an example essay which would receive a Band 9 score. Observe the way it clearly states reasons and gives examples to support all statements.

Due to a large number of societal changes which have taken place in the past 100 years, it’s clear that older people have lost their once elevated position in society. Where we used to cherish our elders and show respect for their wisdom, we now disregard their knowledge or ignore them altogether. There are several reasons for this trend, and many negative consequences which result from it.
            One reason for the devaluation of elderly people in our society is its increasing dependence on technology. As we continually change our lifestyles and update the way we do things, the wisdom once given to us by older people seems to lose its usefulness. Technological skills are now necessary for most forms of employment, but they are often foreign and even frightening to the older generation. Thus, it’s easy for young people to adopt the opinion that old people are falling behind, and that they are no longer useful in the workforce. On a personal level, we may feel annoyed that our mothers and fathers are unable to communicate with technology, such as smart phones, that we use every day.
            Another trend which has led to disrespect for the elderly is the movement away from communities filled with extended families and into so-called “nuclear-family” units. Whereas in the past it was common for grandparents to live nearby and to play an integral role in the upbringing of children, they now live separately and in many cases far away from their children. Single-family living reduces the role that older individuals can play in the family, and therefore decreases their value in society.
            Obviously, the tendency to disrespect and devalue older people has many negative repercussions. While the elderly may not be able to teach us about smart phones, they do possess a great deal of insight into human nature, cultural traditions, and finding inner happiness. It would be a tragedy to lose the philosophical treasures that they offer us. For these reasons, it is my belief that we should constantly strive to maintain our family connections and return respect for the elderly to its rightful place.

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