IELTS Lesson – Speaking Practice (Technology & Decisions)

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Idioms & Expressions:

play God (an expression that means to experiment with powerful new technology)

Scientist have been playing God by cloning animals.

 

like a robot (a phrase that refers to a monotonous lifestyle or series of actions)

Every day I wake up, work out, go to work, and then come home. I feel like a robot.

 

strutting like a peacock (a phrase that means someone is behaving in an excessively arrogant way after they’ve accomplished something)

The players were strutting around like peacocks for a few months after winning the championships.

 

pride comes before the fall (an expression that means that arrogant or overconfident people will usually fail at some point

 

hedge your bets (verb phrase that means that to have a backup plan in case your first action does not work)

The team owner hedged his bets by signing a backup goalkeeper.

 

on the fence (prepositional phrase that means someone is currently indecisive about something)

Many voters were on the fence about who to vote for right up until Election Day.

 

waffle/flounder (verbs that mean to go back and forth between your choices)

I spent a while waffling between the motorbikes before picking one I liked.

 

second guess (verb that means to think critically of a decision after you’ve made it)

He second guessed his university selection for a few months.

 

catch-22 (a noun that is another way to say “dilemma”)

I’m facing a catch-22 and I need some advice.

 

Part I: Group Discussion

Robots

  1. Are you interested in robots? Why?

Not especially. I think they’re mildly interesting to think about, but I’ve seen robots in science fiction movies for so long that somehow in real life they’re actually not that novel to me.

  1. Would you like robots to work at your home?

I’m sure that someday I’ll have some sort of robot around, but I can’t imagine that they will make things that much easier, or that I’ll ever go out and buy one. I think life is fine and convenient enough as it is right now, so I don’t see a need for a robot.

  1. Would you like to be driven in a car by a robot?

Sure – I think that will be safer. Humans are pretty bad drivers, and so I’m looking forward to a fully automated road network. I’ve been hit so many times by foolish or careless drivers that I’m ready to accept robot drivers.

  1. Will robots replace human beings in the workplace completely?

I think they will – and I also think that unemployment will skyrocket because of this. This will cause new crises that I don’t think our planet and our governments are quite yet ready to solve at the current time.

Mirrors

  1. Do you often buy mirrors?

Not at all (I think this is a pretty silly question). I think you only need to buy a mirror when you’re furnishing a new home, which probably isn’t that often.

  1. Do you often look at yourself in the mirror?

I think I look at myself whenever there’s a reflective surface around, but I think everyone does that. So I don’t think I look at myself in the mirror any more or less often than most people do.

  1. Do you think mirrors are necessary ornaments?

They’re not necessary, but I think they’re good to have in your house. If you have one in your bathroom then you should be all set.

Part II: Group Discussion (Cont’d)

Describe a decision made by others that you disagreed with. You should say:

          When it was

          What it was

          Why others disagreed with you

And explain how you faced the problem

Recently I was helping some people edit some ESL videos for a school here in Hanoi. The editor was not doing a very good job at finishing the videos in a way that made sense, and therefore they were not very entertaining to watch. At first, the producers did not want me to help the editor work on the video, since it was her job, and they did not trust me to help out. I asked if I could be included, but they denied me permission. However, some of the videos they finished received some complaints, since they were not good. As a result, the editors let me go to the studio, take a look at the footage they were editing, and give my input on the videos. All I had to do was be patient, and things improved after that. I think that the videos are looking much better now.

Part III: Class Discussion

  1. What’s the most important factor in decision-making?

I think you need to weigh both sides of the issue, and seek input if possible, but beyond that there’s not much else you can do. You should make a decision sooner rather than later, because leaving a decision unmade can become stressful and frustrating.

  1. Should parents make decisions for their children?

Until they’re a certain age, then yes. But I think kids need to experience making their own decisions and having some autonomy – it’s a good thing. So parents should start handing over a little independence to their students sooner rather than later.

  1. What can people learn from wrong decisions?

Making the wrong decisions can be incredibly instructive. I think that failure is a very good thing for most people. Understanding defeats and setbacks is great for people, since it teaches them resilience.

  1. Do you like to make quick decisions?

If I can, then yes. I think having made a decision is better than floundering and being unsure. You may be worried that you’re making the wrong decision, but I think that’s a natural part of life.

  1. Do you think adults always make better decisions than children?

Usually they do, but that’s because they have more experience to draw upon. But I think adults usually tend to be more fearful and cautious than children, which can lead to them having less excitement.