« IELTS Reading: the importance of underlining | Main | IELTS Writing Task 1: map introduction and overview »

June 27, 2018


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Thank you for sharing...

I disagree with this proposal because it is unnecessary. Firstly, parents normally have been raising their children without help for thousands of years. Instead of taking a parenting course, they typically learn from their family members, their own upbringing and friends who are arguably skilled in caring for children. Secondly, they can learn parenting skills by instinct , trial and error, and this potentially helps them get to know their children deeply. For example, my nephew Allen, who spent lots of time playing computer games, lost motivation to study in school, having made his parents to try different strategies to help him return to his normal life, and this ultimately suggests his parents succeed in raising him without undergoing parenthood preparation training.

@ James W

"Make" in the sense of "force" (see meaning #5 below) is not followed by "to"


"having made his parents to try different strategies"

On the other hand, it is not necessary to force every parents to learn how to take care of their kids through courses. Parents have been raising children without help for thousands of years. Other than learning from written books or some baby educational experts, they learn from family members, their own upbringing, friends or any other people around them. Also, they get to know their children better when they learn by instinct, trial and error. For instance, my friend Andrew used to compromise when his kid John didn't eat super. John would start to cry when he didn't want to eat vegetables that he didn't like. After several times, Andrew found that he must not give away the rule he set for John even John cries. Andrew and John both learn quickly about how to teach a child eat and how to follow the rule.

@ Cara

Thank you very much Cara.

@ James W.

1) "parents normally have been raising their children without help for ...": this reads as a generalization and so "normally" is not required (it is actually confusing to me).

2) As an observation, I think the normal situation has been for parents to have help from grandparents and other family members. Also, conversely, many children have grown up in hideous circumstances, particularly during and in the aftermath of war and famine, and yet turned out fairly normal in the end. So I am not sure your argument is sound.

3) "having made his parents.... " -> thus forcing his parents to try different strategies ....

Just my ideas.

Likewise, although the preparation parenthood course is a positive support for new parents, it is unnecessary. Most of the prospective parents were bought up by their parents whose parenting skills were naturally developed without an extra parenting course for thousands of years. Their parenting capacity can be learnt by family members and their own upbringing as well as the exchanging of experiences with friends. Their parenting capacity also can be enhanced by instinct, mistakes and trials, and these factors that facilitate the parents getting to know their children. For example, if a child’s bad behaviour is hard to correct in one way, they might need to adopt different strategies that based on their children’s personalities or the circumstances. Thus, the parenting course might have less efficient to address diverse children.

@ Lilin

1) Although "likewise" often starts a new sentence (as does "similarly"), it is hard to find examples on Google books where it begins a new paragraph. In what way is this paragraph similar to the previous one? Would not "also" be more accurate for an additional point?

2) "although the preparation parenthood course is a ...": the proposed course is purely hypothetical at this point so "would be " instead of "is".

3) "skills were naturally developed .... for thousands of years." This reads as if one set of parents lived through a thousand years of training.

4) "Their parenting capacity" -> Their parenting ability. (cf French: capacité )

5) "can be learnt by family members " : this reads as if family members are doing the learning. by -> from

6) "...as well as from the exchanging of experiences with friends." The grammar around gerunds is very idiomatic. "[exchanging-experiences-with-friends]" is best viewed as one complex noun phrase. Thus "experiences" acts like the object of the verbal noun "exchanging".

7) https://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=parenting+*_NOUN&year_start=1960&year_end=2008&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=&direct_url=t2%3B%2Cparenting%20%2A_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%2Cs0%3B%3Bparenting%20skills_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20style_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20styles_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20practices_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20role_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20behavior_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20classes_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20behaviors_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20responsibilities_NOUN%3B%2Cc0%3B%3Bparenting%20roles_NOUN%3B%2Cc0

8) "these factors that facilitate..": which factors are you referring to? Not clear.

9) "..adopt different strategies that based on .. " Maybe: tailor their strategies to suit their children's ...

10) -> Thus, the parenting course may not be the best way to provide a wide variety of approaches to deal with every situation and every child.

11) Although "unnecessary" is mentioned at the beginning, I do not see this as the main theme of the paragraph. The ideas seem to wander along without being bundled up into a major argument, and tied back to the idea of the course being unnecessary. Perhaps start one of the sentences with "The course is unnecessary because..." and certainly use "not necessary" or "not needed" or "redundant" in the final sentence of the paragraph. This should give the paragraph a more cohesive feel.

Apart from that, taking a parenting course is unnecessary to prospective parents. As there are parents who have been raising their own children without education for many years, parenthood preparation courses do not have a particular meaning. Also, because they can learn it from family members, close friends and even on the Internet, they can learn immediately whenever they need to solve the problem. Besides, to be good parents, they need to learn in a real situation such as dealing with a spoiled-brat and correcting bad behaviour. With a lot of trials and errors, parents can probably acquire some skills by instinct. As a result, they would grow positively as greater parents.


1) Although "apart from that" is often used to start a new sentence, it is difficult to find examples of this phrase being used as a transition to start a new paragraph (on Google books).

One approach to moving from one main idea to the next is :

"The transition is not in the opening of the paragraph; rather, it is in the end of the previous paragraph. When you end a paragraph, it should be clear what will be offered in the next paragraph."

IELTS writing may be a too short to implement this approach, but there would nothing to stop one ending the previous paragraph with something like:
Parenting courses are not only impractical but also unnecessary
Impracticality is not the only issue with parenting courses.

This would mean that the second body paragraph could start baldly: parenting courses are unnecessary.

2) " parenthood preparation courses do not have a particular meaning. " I thought the issue was that parenting courses would give better results and improve the outcomes for children, not that parenting was impossible without a preparation course.

3) "whenever they need to solve the
a problem."

4) "they need to learn in a real situation": could explain why you believe this. There are marks for developing your argument.

5) "with lots of trials and errors" comes up 31 times on google books; "by trial and error" over quarter of a million times. Which is more likely to sound natural?

6) The final sentence is couched in terms of outcomes for the parents. The modern trend (in "Western" thinking) is to consider the outcomes for the children. Perhaps the attitude to parenting is different, for example: "Children are not the be all and end all... Their issues are their issues, not yours...Your life is not measured by the success or otherwise of your children, or by your own success in raising them. Your life is not measured at all. "

correcting reference: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/constructive-wallowing/201611/when-your-son-or-daughter-stops-calling

On the other hand, it is not necessary to force every parents to learn how to take care of their kids through courses. Parents have been raising children without help for thousands of years. Other than learning from written books or some baby educational experts, they learn from family members, their own upbringing, friends or any other people around them. Also, they get to know their children better when they learn by instinct, trial and error. For instance, my friend Andrew used to compromise when his kid John didn't eat super. John would start to cry when he didn't want to eat vegetables that he didn't like. After several times, Andrew found that he must not give away the rules he set for John even John cries. Andrew and John both learned quickly about how to teach a child eat and how to follow the rules.


" super."-> supper

"he must not give away way on the rules he set for John even if John cries."

"how to teach a child to eat"

Caring for children is probably the most important job in any society. Because of this, all mothers and fathers should be required to take a course that prepares them to be good parents. To what extent do you agree or disagree with this view?

I completely disagree with ideas in the question: compulsory pre-parenting courses are unnecessary, ill-conceived, and un-affordable.

The rationale for mandatory courses is illogical. It presupposes there is a massive problem with parenting skills which requires government intervention. There is no evidence to back this up. All that exists are United Nations statistics that show that some countries have higher reported rates of child abuse and domestic violence than others. If this issue needs addressing, then responses should be targeted directly and precisely at the offending groups and not at the public at large.

Obligatory courses are per se ill-conceived, as forcing education on adults automatically sets the stage for resentment and non-participation. It would be better to work through existing community institutions.

Government funding is limited and spending a matter of priorities. At the moment we have had a massive population explosion with dire effects on the environment and a sustainable future for our children and generations to come. World population has trebled over the last seventy years, adding an extra five billion people to feed, clothe and shelter. What governments around the world need to focus on as their top priority is reducing world population back to a sustainable level. Frankly, two or three plagues to wipe out a few billion people would be the best way to spend government funds and give our descendants a fighting chance of survival. Next to this, parenting courses pale into insignificance and seem a total waste of money.

So there it is, saving the environment and protecting the future for generations to come is far more important than merely upgrading parenting skills.

(269 words)

Thank you @Sandi

2nd Paragraph with Conclusion

I also find this idea impractical as parents are raising their children without any kind of parenting education for thousands of years. It is observed that future parents generally learn parenting from their parents, family members, friends and from their own upbringing as well. They also learn by their instinct, trial errors and by understanding their children. For instance, many parents use different strategies for improving bad behaviour of their children.

All in all, I completely disagree with the idea that parents should take formal education on raising their children to become good mothers and fathers.


"parents are raising ... for thousands of years." -> have been raising. If the period is "up till now" present perfect is required in English.

"trial errors" -> by trial and error (a set phrase)

"for improving bad behaviour" -> to improve (remedy/fix) the bad behaviour... (Improve sounds as if they are making bad behaviour more extreme)

"education on raising their children to become good mothers and fathers." This sounds as if the course is designed to teach parents how to teach their children how to become good parents. -> education on parenting skills and techniques.

@Sandi, thank you very much Sandi for your ideas.

@ M'ambo, Thanks a lot!

Another reason that I disagree with the idea of requiring parents to take classes is that it is unnecessary. Parents have been raising children without learning from books, instructors, or other early childhood educators for thousands of years. Other than taking classes, mothers and fathers gain their educational knowledge through human nature, experience, and mistakes they make. In other words, they get to know their children better through a more practical way. Take an example of my friend Andrew and his son John. John used to cry when he did not want to eat vegetables he does not like in supper. Andrew compromised at beginning but he quickly found that the kid played the game every time when he did not like something. Andrew realized that he must not give way on the rules he sets for his loved one even if the kid cries. Eventually, Andrew and John both learned about how to teach a child to eat and how to follow the rules parents set.

I disagree because it is unnecessary. Firstly, parents have been raising children without help for thousands of years. Instead of parenting course, most of the parents and prospective parents unconsciously learn some parenting skills from their family members. Also, they observe their own upbringing and comparing their friend's upbringing. Secondly, people have a different personality so same rules are not valid for every person and children. They learn how they react to their children behaviour or feelings by instinct, trial and error and getting to know gradually their children. For example, if a correcting bad behaviour of children is hard, parents might need different strategies because every child doesn’t react same against the rules.

While It is true that parenting at home is the most important job and more people are getting interested in nurturing their kids. Although I agree with the fact that learning how to be a good parent would be helpful undoubtedly, I believe that it does not have to be a structured course and forced to parents to take.
On the one hand, parenting classes may bring some positive results in an aspect of preparing parents to develop skills in caring for their children. Firstly, it would be a great help to young mothers and fathers who do not have any parents or elderly relatives. A conventional way of learning nurture was just learning experiences or tips handed down by word of mouth. Therefore, courses might help young parents much who do not have chances to hear this information from a family. Secondly, forcing parents to take classes might reduce child abuse by educating uneducated or mentally ill parents by raising awareness of child abuse and how it can affect their children’s lives for short and long term. Finally, if children are cared for better as a result of the parenting classes, it will give children a better environment to develop.
In spite of the number of advantages described above, I believe forcing parents to take a class has more negative effects. The major problem is that these classes would be impractical due to the lack of access or available resources. This is a factor when considering how large a scale you would need to deploy these classes. The easiest way to deploy these classes would be online while also providing offline material such as books or media. With all these tutorials there will be no way to fully ensure that parents will study the material and brings about complications with the application of the theory. Moreover, most of the families who have children are not economically stable so, could be burdened by the cost of parenting classes. They may, therefore, be too busy to take courses due to their work commitment. At the same time, managing and running courses would cost a fortune. In either way, government would pay or individuals would pay, it will mean a great burden on them.
In conclusion, I disagree with the statement that we should make parents take parenting course.

Can someone correct my essay above?
I would be appreciate it much!


1) "I disagree because it is unnecessary." This might need to be: I also disagree because parenting courses (they) are unnecessary.

2) "Instead of parenting course": it is absolutely essential to grapple with countable/uncountable nouns and use of articles. "course" is here (and almost always) a countable noun and therefore either needs an article if singular, OR no article if generalizing in the plural.

The most common ways to generalize are:

for countable nouns: use plural without article. People's lives are important.

for uncountable nouns: no article. Life is good.

Notice that some nouns, such as 'life', are used with both countable and uncountable meanings.

2) ..they observe their own upbringing and comparing -> compare

3) people have a different personality -> personalities

4).. so the same rules are not valid for every person and children -> child

5) ..their children behaviour -> children's

6) ..getting to know gradually their children gradually. Do not split the verb and the object (unless the object is a really long phrase).

7) ..if a correcting bad behaviour of children is hard: 'correcting' is uncountable here so needs no article. 'behaviour' is followed by 'of' and in this situation an article is often needed. 'The' originally was the same as 'that', so the idea here is similar to 'that behaviour which pertains/refers to children'.


8) parents might need different strategies because every child doesn’t react same against the rules. -> ... a range of strategies, because not every child reacts to rules in the same way. Note the word order here.


9) Be wary of starting too many sentences with an introductory adverb or adverbial phrase. Cohesion needs to be "unobtrusive".

Correction to 8): ... because not every child reacts

@ Young

1) Most candidates will struggle to write 387 words in forty minutes. Each paragraph needs to be about 25% shorter (except the conclusion).

2) See comments by Kata re "kids": http://ielts-simon.com/ielts-help-and-english-pr/2018/06/ielts-grammar-correct-the-mistakes.html#comments

3) Cohesion: too many sentences begin with a linking or comment adverb.

4) "more people are getting interested in nurturing their kids." Parents have always been interested: it is not a new thing.

5) "undoubtedly": word order -> ... would undoubtedly be helpful...

6) "..and forced to parents to take." -> which parents are forced to take. (passive)

7) The question does not posit a "structured" course. The question is whether parents should be "required" to take a course - presumably required by the government. Therefore to agree is to agree that courses should be compulsory. Starting the first main body paragraph with "on the other hand" suggests that your position is to partly (dis)agree.

8) "While" (when not referring to time) indicates concession, as if we are weighing up the two sides of an argument. As it stands the sentence is incoherent. Possibly: while it is true that parenting at home is the most important job in the world, it is not everything in life - there are other things which are important... OR:
It is true...., and parents are becoming increasingly concerned about their parenting skills.

@ Young

7b) Must maintain a consistent and clear position throughout. Delete: on the one hand.

9) "parenting classes ... children": verbose and long-winded. -> Parenting classes might prove invaluable.

10) "learning nurture" -> learning parenting skills.

11) "and this brings"

12) "In either way" -> Either way, OR In both cases

13) -> place/put a great burden on

14) final sentence see comment 2) to tvs23 above

@ Young

One way to make your writing more crisp and concise might be to focus on one topic phrase as the subject of each sentence: for example:

Mandatory parenting classes may form part of a solution for governments faced with high reported levels of domestic violence and child abuse. The classes would supplement traditional learning from family and friends and possibly bring in new cultural perspectives, new strategies, and tactics for raising children. These classes would become a medium for bringing change to those sections of society mired in unacceptable or abusive approaches and thinking. Classes become part of the road map toward change where change is needed.

Notice how repeating (or referring back to) the main theme/topic/subject at the beginning of each sentence brings cohesion and coherence to the paragraph.

@ Young

A "partly" agree approach might begin like this:

It is true that there the statistics for child abuse and domestic violence in some countries are uncomfortably high and governments are under pressure to address the issue. However, the case for mandatory parenting courses is not proven.

There is no evidence that making such courses mandatory would prove effective in reducing levels of abuse and violence. Courses would be better targeted at the problematic sections of society, rather than taking a shotgun approach across the country. There is also no evidence that this would be the best way to spend public funds. Other factors, such as poor quality housing, unemployment, traditional cultural values, and inequality may well be at play. Dalits in India, or 'gypsies' in Europe might be a case in point. If social interventions are required, then using the existing educational and community tools and structures might be just as effective, if not more so. Providing a stable civil society instead of a war-torn terrorized environment is more likely to be a priority. The argument for obligatory classes is flawed.


This is not to say that obligatory parenting courses would be useless. It is just that they alone would not be enough. The change that is needed is more fundamental and more widespread. There are countries in the world today where, according to UN statistics, one in four women grow up as victims of some form of abuse, abuse which comes not from strangers outside the family, but from within the extended family. As such, the focus of parenting courses would be too narrow. New parents do not live in isolation: they are part of a wider society, which in many areas is male-dominated and very conservative. Change is needed, but change on a much wider footing, and change that will take a generation or two. Consequently, compulsory parenting courses would only be just a beginning of a much wider and longer campaign, which would meet much resistance from traditional groupings.

The only conclusion can be that requiring prospective parents to take parenting courses is too simplistic an answer and too narrow in scope and vision.

thank you so much Wanda. I'd really appreciate your help.

That is very thorough feedback. Thank you so much Wanda!!

By the way, for "on the one hand" , I used it because I disagree to the compulsory parenting class but wanted to describe of point of view of positive effects. So my essay is like..

-I disagree.
-talk about positive sides
-talk about negative sides

still can't I use "on the one hand" for the first paragraph??

@ Young

As Simon says:

'If you completely agree (or completely disagree), you don't need to mention the opposite view - just support your side of the argument.'

So I think your introduction should really be more "I partly agree".

Perhaps a middle-ground statement such as: "the case for mandatory parenting courses is not proven" (see Wanda's intro)

Or use 'although' to get the balance:

Although parenting classes would have some positive effects, I do not believe they should be compulsory.

Good morning Sir

May I ask one question?

ex) Introduction

1. People have diverse opinions on advertisements. Some people insist that it is (a) negative development, while I believe that it is (a) positive advancement. In this essay,
❗️I will elaborate on the issue and suggest my opinion.

2. People have diverse opinions on advertisements. Some people insist that it is (a) negative development, while I believe that it is (a) positive advancement. In this essay,

❗️I elaborate the issue and suggest my opinion.

3. People have diverse opinions on advertisements. Some people insist that it is negative development, while I believe that it is positive advancement. In this essay,
❗️I will elaborate the issue and suggest my opinion.

What is the difference between 1 and 2?

1, 2 and 3 are all correct?

Please reply..Thank you.

@ John

1) Oxford makes a semantic distinction here:


But other dictionaries do not mention it:


Statistically "elaborate on" has become more common over the last seventy years. "Elaborate the idea" and "elaborate the idea" are both commonly used.


2) "I will elaborate" is a statement of intent. "I elaborate" is a statement of fact.

3) Do you mean "advertisements" or "advertising" ? That people have diverse opinions is somewhat trite: it would be surprising if they did not.

4) "Development" is both countable and uncountable, depending on the meaning:



"Advancement" is appropriate for careers or causes:


Rewording: Some people insist this development is negative, others (say) positive.

5) "give my opinion" would be more normal:


6) To me, the whole sentence "In this essay, I will elaborate... opinion" is unnecessary and redundant. What else would you be doing in an essay?

It would be better to foreshadow your viewpoint in the introduction. This is the only way to meet the requirement to 'present a clear position throughout the response'. This is an IELTS essay which actually asks for your opinion, so we can use "I believe..". University essays are different in this regard.

7) IELTS is a short writing sample, in which you need to demonstrate that you can 'logically organise information and ideas'; and show 'clear progression throughout'. (Band 7 cohesion and coherence). Given the short time available, it makes sense to keep your introduction and short and focus on building strong arguments in the body paragraphs. It is important to create the right impression for the examiner: waffle will create the wrong one. Crisp, concise writing with logical arguments and relevant examples will do the trick.

In your version, the first and second sentences repeat the same idea, and the third tells me nothing at all. Do not waste your time and effort on saying nothing. Let every sentence advance your argument.

A shorter introduction:
It is true that advertising is not universally appreciated. I believe that it is a necessary evil.

@ John

7b) Your mission is not to just to write 250+ words. Your mission is to convince the examiner that you can put your point across clearly and logically. Rambling and waffling on round the topic, and padding your essay with a long preamble will never achieve this. This means that your real mission is to plan a couple of major points with examples and to write a paragraph on each, with minimalist introduction and conclusion.

You also need to avoid over-generalizing and losing focus or wandering off the point with your supporting ideas. The sequence and logical flow of your ideas is crucial. Whether the examiner agrees with them or not is irrelevant; what is important is that your case is well argued and, like a lawyer in court, would sway a jury.

Thank you for the answer.

May I one more question?

I will outline this issue and suggest my opinion.

What about this sentence..? is it more correct..?

Please answer for me. Thank you.

Dear John

"Outline this issue" seems to come up rarely on google books; I have only found one real example and the context is somewhat different to yours.


It is a similar story with "suggest my opinion":


Both these phrases would, to my mind, tend to drag your score for vocabulary down to Band 6: 'attempts to use less common vocabulary but with some inaccuracy'.

Consequently I could not recommend either of these two phrases. They may be grammatically correct but they simply do not come across as "natural" English. Band 9 talks about having "very natural and sophisticated control of lexical features", which I take to mean using normal phrases that come up on Google books in a similar context.

Again, I would repeat the point I tried to make in my previous post: in what way would such a sentence advance your argument? Any reader automatically expects you to address the issue and give your opinion. After all, that is the task.


Something like your proposed sentence might be necessary in a university essay, but it is entirely unnecessary in IELTS. Again, what is needed in the introduction is an indication of your actual viewpoint. Without it, your score for Task Response may be lower.

Checkout the model answer below as provided by British Council themselves, and notice that in the intro they state their opinion unequivocally and without any pretentious 'academic' wording. If the people who set the exam do not need it, then neither do you.


One of the keys to planning your IELTS Task 2 essay is to write down your opinion, and then ask yourself why do I think that way? Your job is to spend your time explaining to the examiner why you think the way you do. Not a lot else matters as far as Task Response is concerned. A good explanation will give a good result. So do not waste your time on anything else.

I am left wondering why you think the way you do about the introduction. What, or who, has influenced you to come up with unnatural, and irrelevant opening sentences? I could go on...

But sadly my own time does not permit, so we must part at this point, although this does not mean our differences are entirely un-reconcilable, merely that a rethink is required on your part in order to take this relationship any further..... ;=)) Good luck !

In my opinion parents can raise their children without any support as what they did in the past times. Humanity has been doing classical method for caring of their children for many years so i believe that in the further it will be continuous as it is.
On the other hand if any trouble will occur in the family regarding the caring of children, parents easily get any advise from other family members or immediate environmental. So it would not be require any course in this circumstances too.
Besides, I believe that raising of children is a process. Shortly, parents and children live together in this process and they interact with each others for better communication. For instance, if children do any bad behaviour than parents can easily observe them and they warned so as to correction action and can try different strategies for better communication. This better communication is going to be improved caring of children in the family.

Hi, could someone take a look at the following paragraph please? I wrote a paragraph saying that I am in favor of the courses.

I agree that government should require mandatory attendance to parenting courses because of the following reasons. Firstly, irresponsible parenting behaviors would hamper children’s rights of receiving proper care and growing up healthily. For example, when children’s emotional and physical needs are neglected, they tend to develop more psychological problems and sense of insecurity in the future. Also, children are likely to suffer from disease like fever, brain infections in the first few months, and missing the best time for treatment poses great risks on their health. Mandatory parenting courses ensure that parents are prepared for handling emergency situation and providing children immediate treatment, such as recognizing the symptoms and sending them to hospitals, etc.

The comments to this entry are closed.