07 Feb IELTS Task 2: Shopping as a Leisure Activity
When you answer an opinion question you basically have five options.
- You can completely agree
- You can completely disagree
- You can say that you cannot decide because you are in the middle
- You can agree more than disagree (partly agree)
- You can disagree more than agree (partly disagree)
If you write an essay that is 1 or 2, you would basically examine only one side of the issue. For 3, 4 and 5, you would look at both sides. For number 3, you would present both sides relatively equally, and for 4 and 5 you would show that you favour one side by using words like admittedly, could/might, arguably and so on.
We usually write an essay that is 4 or 5. There are a few reasons for this, but the main one is that it is often easier to brainstorm ideas when you have two sides. If you have one side, you might find that you don’t have enough ideas for a full essay.
Nevertheless, there is absolutely nothing wrong with writing a 1 or 2 essay. Today’s sample is a strong opinion.
Please note that the question ‘To what extent do you agree?’ can come in different forms. In this question, it says ‘Is this a positive or negative development?’. This could be written as, ‘Some people feel this is a positive development. To what extent do you agree?’.
Nowadays young people are spending more leisure time in shopping centres instead of organised leisure activities like sports and music. Is this a positive or negative development?
Many young people today are going to shopping malls instead of participating in more traditional activities such as sport and the arts. I believe this is largely a negative trend and will explain my view below.
One compelling reason for this is that young people are, for the most part, losing the opportunity to develop their skills and express their creativity. By being part of, say, a soccer team, players learn both teamwork and communication skills, leading to them not only growing as people but also possibly helping them in their future careers. Conversely, when they shop, they are typically exercising more superficial desires, in turn often buying items that give them only short term pleasure. What this demonstrates is that structured leisure activities offer both mental and physical benefits that shopping cannot replicate.
Another drawback of this development is that it can engender an unhealthy relationship with money. In Australia, for example, shopping malls such as Westfield have become important meeting points for teenagers, seducing young people with their array of clothing, jewellery and cosmetics stores. This, certainly, encourages them to outlay more of their, and their parents’, money, and potentially ingrain destructive spending habits that can persist into adulthood and even ultimately result in debt or bankruptcy. Sports and music, however, focus more on constructive areas of their lives, and time spent on them can minimise more damaging pursuits like shopping and developing a materialistic mindset.
Overall, I believe that organised activities like sport and music provide young people with essential personal development, and therefore the move towards them being replaced by the soulless experience of visiting shopping malls is negative.