This is a new type of lesson for me – online anyway. This time I am not going to show you my essay just yet. Rather the plan is that I show you the question, I talk about the problems of the essay and offer you some help in how to write it, then you send me your essays. Then this time next week I will post my essay.
I have now written my own essay on this topic. Which you can find here. I really do suggest that you read through the essays in the comments below and think about what I say about them. The essays are full of good language and ideas you can borrow. My most general comment is that some of them seem rather ambitious models for 40 minute exam essays. You can read more about that here.
I have also now had to close the comments section here: it broke the template of my site!!!Poverty and aid essay (28860)
What’s the idea?
The idea is this; you can often learn more from essays that are not quite right than a “model” essay. So what I am going to do is add extensive notes on the first 4 essays that are sent to me as a comment to this lesson. My comments will not be so much this is band 6.0 or band 8.0, rather they will say what went right and what went wrong in the key essay writing skills. That I think can be a real learning exercise.
I also hope that more than 4 people will send me an essay as a comment – the more the better – and I will try to add shorter comments to as many essays as possible – but life is only so long! Another part of the idea is to show how there is almost always more than one way to answer an essay question: it is possible to learn from each other.
The essay question
This is a question that was sent into me – possibly a real IELTS question, possibly not. It is certainly a topic you need to be able to write about.
Even though developing countries receive financial aid, poverty is still a problem. Some people believe that in order to eliminate poverty in developing countries other forms of aid are needed .
To what extent do you agree or disagree? And suggest what other form of aid could be offered.
Thinking about the question
Different questions pose different problems. Here are two immediate problems I see with this question. Get either of these wrong and your task response band score will suffer.
- You should immediately see that there are two parts to this question: to what extent do you agree and suggesting other forms of aid. Any answer must focus on both parts of the question.
- Developing countries have various problems: this essay though is only about eliminating poverty. An easy trap to fall into is to write about other issues. You can of course mention them, but only in the context of poverty and financial aid.
Structuring the essay
There are different approaches possible here of course, but here are a few ideas. This is a complex essay as it involves two parts, it is probably simplest to answer the two questions separately. Simple tends to be good in exam circumstances. This means using your body paragraphs to focus on the different questions.
Use examples – don’t just argue/explain
This is a complex question and it is quite possible to make your answer too complicated. My best suggestion is to focus on using examples to demonstrate your ideas. I say this because examples are normally easier to write and they are an excellent way of explaining complex ideas clearly.This may mean that you do not include all your ideas but only those that you can explain clearly in a short essay.
Ideas and vocabulary for IELTS poverty essays
This is quite a complex question. Here are some thoughts for you to consider. The idea is to get you thinking and to help you a little with vocab. I have just used questions here, as the idea is to get you to think.
- What are the causes of poverty in developing countries? Is it possible that climate and drought for example are significant factors?
- What is the difference between prevention and cure?
- Is the best solution long-term or short-term?
- Is the best solution for countries for developing countries to become less dependent on external financial aid and develop their own programmes?
- To what extent is it possible to generalise here? Are the problems in sub-Saharan Africa the same as in Asia?
- Would aid that was delivered directly to individuals in the community be more effective than aid given to governments?
- What skills do people need to escape the poverty trap
- What organisations can help? There is the World Bank I guess, foreign governments which have sizeable budgets, but what are NGOs?
- Can education play a part in helping to alleviate poverty? Is health also connected?
Read before you write
The people who write best are almost always those who read most. Here a few links that may give you more language and ideas for IELTS poverty essays:
- The poverty trap – Wikipedia isn’t always a great source but a good way to use it is to follow the links it has to other places on the internet.
- Will foreign aid end global poverty? – a report from ABC with some interesting examples
- VSO – this is a major British charitable organisation that has “Our vision is a world without poverty” as its mission statement. Read about the sort of things it does – great for examples in your essay.
If this model of lesson works, I hope to repeat it at regular intervals. To make it work, all I need is a few essays submitted as comments.