Academic IELTS Writing Task 2 Topic (in March, 2015):
Some people think that famous people can help international aid organizations to draw attention to important problems. Others believe that the celebrities can make the problems seem less important. Discuss both views and give your opinion.
Band 9.0 Sample Essay 01:
From the perspective of some people, aid agencies can take advantage of celebrities’ fame to raise public awareness of certain important matters. Others, however, hold the view that such a method may only bring counterproductive results. I find the latter argument more convincing.
Those who support the idea of using famed individuals’ assistance have their own justifications. First of all, people who are considered role models have considerable influence on the public. Emma Watson, for instance, being a prominent actress, is currently the goodwill ambassador for the United Nations, promoting gender equality and undoubtedly drawing a great deal of attention from her admirers. Furthermore, a wider range of population can be reached if an organisation’s campaign is represented by a popular star. In many parts of the world, some film stars are even more well-known to the locals than the organisation itself owing to their appearance in familiar cinematic products. Therefore the introduction of a humanitarian campaign can be further facilitated thanks to the artists.
Nevertheless, I can understand why other people are against inviting celebrities for assistance. When relying on the fame of some people to attract more public attention, an aid programme can also be affected by their scandals. Mass public disapproval may arise from a representative receiving a speeding ticket, or getting caught using illegal drugs, undervaluing the significance of the aid programme. Another foreseeable drawback is that the public might take the presence of famous entertainers as a mere publicity stunt. Without the evidence of real actions taken to mitigate a problem, such as participating in a voluntary team to help the people in need, famous people may fail to draw the attention of people to the situation.
In conclusion, while some people have reasons to believe in the success of celebrities in getting people to pay attention, I tend to think that such an approach might not prove to be effective for aid organisations as expected. (321 words – by Bảo Nguyễn)
Useful Vocabulary & Expressions:
- Counterproductive (adj): having an effect that is opposite to the one intended or wanted
==>Improved traffic infrastructures such as broadened roads can be counterproductive as they encourage people to drive faster.
- Role model (noun phrase): a person who is admired and whose behaviour is copied
==>Many sports stars are the role models for thousands of young people.
- Prominent (adj): very well-known and important
==>Many prominent inventors in history had their ability imprecisely evaluated such as Thomas Edison and Einstein.
- To undervalue (v): to consider something less important or valuable than they really are
==>It is very likely for employees who feel undervalued to leave the company and seek the appreciation of their worth somewhere else.
- Significance (n): importance
==>The discovery of the new drug is of great significance to people suffering from heat disease.
- Foreseeable (adj): can be known or guessed before it happens
==>The deterioration of humans’ health is foreseeable if the destruction of the environment persists at the current rate.
Band 9.0 Sample Essay 02:
There has been much debate regarding the role of famous people in raising public awareness of major issues. While celebrities can attract people’s attention to the problems, I would argue that they are likely to make the problems become less crucial.
To begin with, well-known people can assist international aid organisations in raising people’s awareness of social issues. Firstly, celebrities can communicate information about big problems to a large audience around the world. For example, by taking part in the Ice Bucket Challenge in 2014, various celebrities such as Bill Gates or Mark Zuckerberg have helped the ALS Organisation to let millions of people know about a disease called ALS. Secondly, since people tend to listen to the ones they admire, famous people are much more likely to be able to ask their fans to take appropriate actions. For instance, a well-known football player can ask people to donate money to help homeless individuals.
However, I believe famous people might make the problems become less important. The first reason is that individuals tend to only pay attention to what celebrities do and say rather than what messages they want to convey. In the aforementioned example about the Ice Bucket Challenge, many people watched the videos of celebrities taking up the challenge without actually learning anything about the ALS disease. This makes little contribution to solving the problem compared to the large number of famous people involved. Furthermore, in order to attract viewers, wellknown people usually try to deliver their messages in a funny and entertaining way, which might lead to the problems becoming less serious.
In conclusion, while celebrities can contribute greatly to tackling social problems, I believe they are more likely to make these problems seem less important.
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