IELTS Speaking Test USA | Educational TV and Academic Research

IELTS Part 3 Discussion Questions about Education on TV and Academic Research

(Questions from a recent IELTS interview in the USA)

IELTS Speaking Test Part 3 Discussion Questions

Why are quiz programs popular these days on TV?

Maybe it’s because people are competitive. They like to participate and possibly win the main prize which is usually quite a lot of money on the most popular quiz shows.

They might also be popular because they’re fun to watch and you can actually learn something from many of them. They are designed to be fast-paced, dramatic and they’re normally no more than thirty minutes long, so it doesn’t take up much of your time if you decide to watch one. It’s a good format for a TV program, fast, fun and friendly.

What is your opinion about TV as an educational tool?

Well, there’s no doubt that it might be, just as easily as it might not be. What I mean is, it all depends on what a person watches. Some programs are specifically designed to be educational in nature but others are made solely for entertainment purposes often with little or no educational value or element.

Like many things in life, it’s not so much the object (the TV) but what you do with it. So, for example, there would be a lot of potential educational value if people watched a lot of documentary style programs and learned things about subjects they are interested in.

Some quiz shows have general knowledge themes and all news programs inform and therefore educate to a certain degree. On the other hand, most people wouldn’t consider watching cartoons or other similar types of programs to have any education focus.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of it?

Some of the advantages are that most people have a TV, so they have access to the programs. It’s a relatively easy method of communicating with a population in their own language and in terms which are relevant to them.

However, not everyone wants to watch educational style TV. They might not be free when a certain program is scheduled, or they might just miss it because of something else happening at the same time. It’s also not very flexible. The program is on, then it’s finished. There’s no feedback, interaction or follow up.

The internet on the other hand is far more flexible and can counter many of the problems of trying to use TV as an educational tool.

IELTS Speaking Test Part 3 Discussion Questions

Do you think academic research is important to today’s society? Why?

Yes, of course, all research is important. It’s how we learn and develop our ideas and from these ideas come real innovations and changes in the way we live. Without academic research we wouldn’t have many of the things we take for granted today such as computers, smartphones and such like. Many of these, or rather the technology involved, started as academic research or developmental studies before it became commercially available.

Do you think the research findings should be accessible to all? Why?

In an ideal world that would be the case. The public has a right to know, as they say, but in reality there is a lot of information, both research and other, which is not made accessible to the public in general.

However, in some cases there are very powerful interests which do not want any potentially controversial or damaging information published. There is a lot of pharmaceutical research which is done in relation to drugs sold to the public which is not made accessible to all people.

Nowadays, we live in the age of information overload, and the internet is the ideal tool for making all research and information publically available, yet at the same time there are certain cases where it’s not a good idea to publish everything you know, for example, research which potentially has military applications. So, it depends on the type of research.

I don’t believe all research can be made public for a variety of safety or security reasons.

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