1.Some people think that giving students time during a class to discuss ideas with each other is a good way to help students learn; others think giving students time for discussion is ineffective or a waste of time. Which idea do you agree with, and why?"

As is known to all, the education in China is exam-oriented. Everything students learn in class is for passing the exams. There are few open topics for students to discuss in Chinese class. It is believed by both Chinese teachers and students that discussion in class is an ineffective way to learn. I totally agree with it.

To begin with, Chinese students have got used to the way they are educated. Most students are required to listen carefully to the teachers and take as many note as possible in the class from primary school to senior high school. It will be too much to ask for students to accept class discussion within a short period of time. It is possible that students might not know what to say in the first place. When topics were given in class, it would be possible that the whole class would be silent. It is not only a waste of time, but also embarrassing.

In addition, the effectiveness of class discussion depends on the students』 personality. Unlike students from western countries like the United States, Chinese students are introverted who are reluctant to express their ideas in front of their fellow classmates. Some students might be afraid of speaking in public. They are worried if they do something wrong, it will be quite humiliating. Some students are just not interested in sharing although they have plenty of amazing ideas in mind.

Moreover, in order to conduct successful class discussion, the teacher plays the most crucial role. It is quite tough for the teacher to supervise the process. He is supposed to be capable of dealing with various challenges. He has to know how to start the topic when the whole class remains silent. Also he has to know how to engage as many students as possible. He has to know what to do when the discussion is absolutely off the topic.

In sum, class discussion might be an effective teaching method in other countries. However, it is not the case in China. It takes time for Chinese students to get familiar with it. It might be good when students become more extraverted. The qualification of the teacher matters the most in carrying out a successful class discussion.

2. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? Students could receive a better, more efficient education if they spend 11 months a year studying.

In my home country, students usually need to study for two semesters a year, which last for nearly nine months. Some people propose that students should spend eleven months a year studying, because students could acquire more knowledge if they study for three more months than before. However, to my understanding, students will not benefit from studying for eleven months for the following reasons.

If students have to go to school for eleven months a year, they will become less motivated sooner or later. For now, many high school students have already been complaining that they are tired of studying so hard to prepare for college entrance exam. As far as I know, high school students need to complete at least six courses each semester, and they have to compete with each other when applying for universities. Adding three more months of learning to students』 busy schedule will definitely make them feel more stressful and tired. Sooner or later, students will lose their interests in learning and become less motivated learners. In that case, students』 learning will become less efficient no matter how intense their learning schedule will be and how long they will study a year.

Further, if students use appropriate learning methods, they could achieve a better and more efficient education even though they only study for nine months a year. For example, as a language learner, I believe that choosing appropriate ways of learning that are suitable for me is the most effective way to learn a new language. I used to learn Japanese by taking an online course offered by a university. However, two years later, I found that my Japanese language proficiency was not improved at all. Once a friend of mine recommended that I could learn the language by watching Japanese dramas. Soon the plots in those dramas attracted me and I started to imitate the language that the characters use. Several months later I became able to talk in Japanese. After that, I travelled to Japan for two weeks and people from Tokyo complemented on my accent as well as the choice of words. My own experience shows that it is no use studying for a long time using inappropriate methods. However, if we choose learning methods that are suitable for us, we could achieve a more efficient education in a comparatively short term.

To conclude, it is better not to extend the length of studying per year from nine months to eleven months, because in this way students will feel extremely stressful and become less motivated in classrooms. It should also be noted that the most effective way to achieve a better and more efficient education for students is to choose appropriate learning methods.

3.Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: people should not spend a lot of time on communication by technologies, such as through social media or with text messages.

With the development of modern technologies, people today are enjoying communicating through social media and text messages, which is convenient compared to scheduling face-to-face meetings. However, some people argue that people should not spend too much time on communication using technological devices. I totally agree with this viewpoint for the following reasons.

To begin with, communicating through social media reduces the time people meet in real life. Convenient it might seem, in fact, this type of communication could isolate people from each other. To illustrate, while chatting through social media, we usually choose to type and send text messages, which lacks tones, intonations, and facial expressions to show our feelings. Even if we could use emoji, the emoji still fails to express our true feelings because those symbols and pictures are identical in everyone』s computer screens or cellphones. Gradually, people will not consider seriously the feelings conveyed by texts and emoji and thus the communications become less effective. For example, some people only 「like」 others』 pictures and sharing on Facebook without any comments. It is inevitable that people feel more and more isolated from each other by simply 「liking」 each other』s postings online without meeting in person.

Moreover, always sticking to our cellphones or sitting in front of computers is harmful to our physical health. For instance, many people have found themselves suffering from muscle pain because of a sedentary lifestyle. On the contrary, if people meet in person, they might hang out and take a walk while taking to each other. Though different from doing exercises in gyms, this in person meeting at least enables people to relax and even sweat a little bit.

In addition, during spare time, people could choose to schedule a short trip, do some exercises, or simply read some books that they are interested in. The above types of activities are beneficial for our physical health, and could help broaden our horizons. In order not to become addicted to social media, it is necessary for us to limit the time we spending on our cell phones as well as the Internet.

Based on the above discussion, people should not spend a lot of time on communication by technologies, such as through social media or with text messages. On the contrary, we could meet in person, which could help us maintain social relationship with others. Besides, we should make use of our leisure time to do some beneficial activities instead of staring at the screen of our cellphones or computers all the time.

4. Do you agree or disagree with the following statement? The environmental issue is too complex to be handled by the individual.

Environmental issues, such as global warming and air pollution, have raised people』s awareness of protecting the environment during the past decades. Some people argue that individuals are responsible for handling those issues, whereas others do not believe so. To my understanding, the environmental issues are too complicated for individuals to deal with for the following reasons.

The first step to solve problems related to environment is to establish laws and set up rules that we could refer to. Obviously, individuals do not have the power to achieve this goal, but the governments and politicians have. The governments and politicians are definitely capable of assembling a team of professionals in the field of environment study, then discussing about issues that need to be handled, and finally drafting laws and rules of protecting the environment based on the discussion and scientific research. It could be seen that the process of establishing systematic laws and principles is extremely complicated, which is impossible for individuals to handle.

The second step to deal with environment issues is to implement laws and principles that set up by the governments and experts. As far as I am concerned, the implementation is large-scale industries』 duty rather than individuals』. According to a recent survey, the major sources of various types of pollution are large-scale industries and factories in my home country. If those industries and factories could follow laws and policies to minimize the amount of waste and hazardous materials disposed in rivers and lands, the pollution problem could be solved to a large extent. If they refuse to do so, environmental issues could not be handled no matter how many efforts individuals spend on protecting the environment. Based on the above discussion, large-scale industries and factories should be responsible of implementing laws and policies rather than individuals.

Admittedly, individuals should also participate in protecting our environment. For example, we could purchase recycled products, reduce the emission of CO2 by taking public transportation tools instead of private cars, and volunteer in eco-friendly organizations, to name a few. However, those efforts could help solve a small portion of environment problems, compared with complex tasks that need to be completed by the governments and large-scale industries.

To sum up, handling environmental issue needs the cooperation of our government and large-scale industries. Though individuals should take part in protecting the environment, they should not be assigned with all complicated tasks.

5. Agree or Disagree:teachers were more appreciated and valued by the society in the past than nowadays.

Nowadays, the whole society is paying more attention to the quality of education. As a result, teachers are usually assigned with more demanding teaching assignments. Some people argue that teachers today are more respected by the public because of their hardworking, whereas others do not believe so. In my opinion, teachers in the past were actually more appreciated and valued for the following reasons.

Admittedly, teachers today are playing a more important role than the past, but it does not mean that they are still appreciated and valued as authority any more. Todays』 teachers need to follow the schools』 policies and teach in accordance with the textbooks. To illustrate, teachers do not have to express their personal opinions and show their charisma in nowadays』 classrooms because both students』 parents and the schools only need satisfying final grades. This is true especially in primary and middle schools in my home country. It seems that teachers are trained in similar ways and teach uniformed knowledge in school.

Moreover, many professors in college-level education are spending less effort on classroom teaching but are devoting themselves to scientific research. This is resulted from the universities』 policies that the more rewarding professors』 scientific research is, the higher reputation professors could gain. Some professors just read the slices on their PowerPoint in class. Even if students negatively evaluate the professors, universities will not consider students』 evaluation seriously because the professors』 scientific achievements are more associated with the universities』 reputation. Gradually, students do not value teachers and professors』 work any more.

In contrast, teachers in the past were regarded as authority in their own fields of research because they did not rely on textbooks and felt free to express their own opinions on political and social issues. Their words and behaviors were not strictly regulated by the governments』 policies and were not influenced by parents』 expectations. As a result, teachers in the past were more likely to express opinions from creative perspectives and thus looked up to by students.

To sum up, although teachers today are working under great pressure and have to consider many stakeholders』 expectations towards the educational quality, they are actually not as appreciated and valued than teachers in the past. However, teachers should not be blamed for this result, and they have to follow not only the schools』 policies, otherwise they will lose their jobs.


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