Thinking and writing critically for good IELTS scores

In our writing class the other night I showed my students an IELTS essay I had written and I was pointing out certain features and structure of a good essay.  Government investment in the visual arts, the kind you commonly see in art galleries, is a waste of money. Governments must invest this money in public services instead. To what extent do you agree with this statement?

First I had a paragraph about the value of art . . . but then I had a paragraph about the importance of government funding of education and health and other public services.  This led me to have a discussion with the students about why governments fund public services . . . what would happen if they didn’t?  What does actually happen when they don’t?  What happens in India? What happens in the Philippines?  How do the poor live?  What happens in the society when you have a few very rich people and a lot of very poor people? Is it a safe place to live? How do these people eat?  Where do they live? In what kind of houses? What about their health?  What about the future of their families?

I could go on and on.  Then I brought up what I know about many people from the Philippines. They look overseas for service jobs – like a menial job at a Middle East airport, or being a maid for a family in some culture that is used to having household servants. Perhaps they leave their kids to live with grandparents.  There are so many stories I have heard.   This is a phenomenon in that country. I wonder if it is similar in your country.

So then I drew on something I had heard about on the radio the other day.     go to 1.56.15   (the time on the recording) and you can listen to this very interesting discussion about slavery in modern times – happening right under our noses even when we thought slavery was abolished in the 19th century. A very interesting Catholic priest called John McCarthy,  is on a mission to abolish the appalling enslavement of children and adults all over the world, but particularly in the supply chain of the goods we buy, such as the T-shirts we wear.  He spoke about migrant women working as servants for employers who take their passports so that they have no power to leave – and then they can treat them as slaves. (I thought of those Philippino maids.) He also spoke of children enslaved in factories in poor countries making goods of all kinds. He spoke of the garment (clothing) industry – why do you think K-Mart sells clothes so cheaply?  He spoke of women offered visas to work in Australia by criminals who promise regular work but end up selling them into prostitution – presumably these criminals do all the paper work required by Australian Immigration and they make it look legitimate.

This information gives an interesting perspective to the idea in my essay that governments need to look after basic services for all people so that they don’t become captive to the criminal world just to stay alive.

So why do you think this is relevant to writing essays for IELTS?  It is because often the questions you are given to write about in such a short time are difficult.  They are political concepts such as the funding of human society, spiritual concepts such as morals and ethics or beauty, or scientific concepts or social issues. What I am saying is that THE MORE YOU CAN PRACTISE EXPRESSING YOUR MORAL OR POLITICAL VIEWS AND KNOWLEDGE ON ANY TOPIC, THE MORE INTELLIGENT AND WELL WRITTEN YOUR ESSAYS CAN BE.

This particular concept of reducing the gap between the rich and poor is a very fundamental one for any political thinking.  In an academic IELTS test you are asked to demonstrate that you are able to use your life experience and information of the world to have an opinion on this kind of abstract topic.

So, don’t forget, when practising your essays, that your own life contains a lot of experience and information.  Come and join our class in Adelaide on a Thursday evening where we learn to think critically and write about your personal experience of the world. Contact me.


Finding Gold

The negative energy created in your trauma is potential GOLD. Transmute negative energy with Life Alignment. Clear your heart of life’s unresolved difficulties and move forward into happiness, health and peace. Book a Life Alignment session today with Stephanie Jarrett.

In my work as a Life Alignment practitioner and in my life I notice something about people. . .  The most difficult life circumstances can create the most wonderful people . . . That is unless those people get stuck in their ‘stuff’ . . .  in which case . . .  there can be unfortunate and even disastrous outcomes.

Trauma in life, family conflict, poverty, neglect, illness . . .  all carry HUGE energy.

When I say ‘energy’ I mean the effect created by those ‘ghastly’ feelings you have from those experiences. You know the churning in the stomach, the confusion in the head, the tears, the panic, the numbness, the disgust, the desire to just run . . . You feel the ‘energy’ as emotion and if you are lucky that usually seems to pass with time.   And that energy can be strong.

But did you know that if that energy is not resolved satisfactorily, it will get buried in your actual physical cells – and re-emerge when triggered by other experiences in life?  It is like a ‘bell’ that ‘resonates’ with other circumstances. You will probably not see the links between the old experience and the circumstances that are triggering you to anxiety, illness, ‘stuckness’ or whatever.

The great thing is that this negative energy created in your trauma is potential GOLD. In time, some people are able to transmute the negativity to wisdom, compassion, even greatness. However this often takes a lifetime and sometimes never happens – as the energy may turn inwards and manifest as physical disease.

Alchemy is this transmutation of the negative to positive – from LEAD to GOLD (in the old stories).

LIFE ALIGNMENT gives us a process to systematically create this alchemy.

Step by step we find the buried negativity that is lowering your energy and keeping you in suffering. The practitioner helps you to tap in to the energy in the emotion you carry . . . then using the energy techniques, emotional processing and the magnetic vortex technology of Life Alignment, the practitioner guides you to transmute negative to positive. Your energy body is then stronger and you go back into your life with more resilience, more clarity and focus, more vision, more compassion and better emotional, mental and physical health. Your lead starts to become your GOLD

Why leave it to chance and time to become a wise old woman or man? Why wait till you chance upon the will to make yourself live your dreams?  Why push uphill all the time?

Book a Life Alignment session today to start clearing away your clutter so you can start creating ALCHEMY.

Writing English essays for exams

Perhaps the most difficult part of an English exam is writing good ideas coherently in a short time. This requires a lot of practice.
Do not think that you can get from IELTS 5.5 to 7 by taking a class a week for the month before your next booked exam. That is a waste of your money.

Perhaps the most difficult part of an English exam is writing good ideas coherently in a short time. This requires a lot of practice.

Do not think that you can get from IELTS 5.5 to 7 by taking a class a week for the month before your next booked exam? That is a waste of your money.  This is a major learning experience that will take a lot of practice and a real development of your thinking and writing. I suggest it might take one or two years to get yourself completely ready to do this exam easily. So if you know you need IELTS 7, start early.  It may take hard work but you will be a better thinker and writer at the end.  The skills you gain can be boiled down to:

  • Having an intelligent and authentic opinion based on an awareness of the world around you
  • Organising your opinion into a coherent structure
  • Writing your opinion persuasively, with some grammatical complexity and accuracy, showing a range of vocabulary.
  • Doing all this quickly and by hand

Having an authentic, real opinion. You have to argue a case persuasively. If you are half hearted or pretending to have an opinion your writing sounds hollow and your thinking primitive.

Practise thinking about things while you are alone. What is your opinion on x (anything in your life)? Work out the separate reasons you have for your opinion. Choose the 3 most compelling reasons. Practise talking the essay in your head.

Organising your authentic opinion. When writing on a topic it is so easy to get away from the topic – to go off on a tangent. The only way to avoid this is to PLAN and organise your thoughts, always coming back to make sure you are still on topic.The common structure is:

  • Introduction
  • Paragraph for each argument point
  • Conclusion

Have a thesis statement (what you are attempting to argue) at the end of your introduction. Commence each content paragraph with a simple topic sentence followed by supporting sentences that explain or give evidence for your statement.
These essays do not require many words so keep your content to a few main points and make those points quickly (no filler words) and with persuasive support.  You should not spend more than 5 minutes on this preparation stage.

Write from your plan. Once your mind is organised you can start writing. Do it in pencil so you can erase where necessary.

Avoid clichés like ‘a coin has two sides’ or empty sentences that fill space but don’t give information. Any kind of ‘filler’ appears unsophisticated in this situation where you need to be as concise and ‘to the point’ as possible.

Don’t make your language so general and abstract that the reader has to guess what you mean; bring it alive with particular examples from real life so that the reader can immediately see your point. You are asked to use your own experience to support your opinions.

You don’t have time to count words. As long as you are covering the topic intelligently you will have enough words. If you write more than required it does not matter as long as you stay on topic, write persuasively and finish the essay in time. Practise hand writing essays at home on sample papers to see what the required word count looks like in your handwriting.

To practise this skill:

  • Enjoy your coherent thinking on any topic you like to make up.
  • Enjoy planning your argument.
  • Enjoy talking yourself through your opinions coherently!

Try these really simple thinking exercises. You can agree or disagree (or both). They don’t need to be long – you may only have two points – or you may have lots. Do them in your head or write them for exam practice.

  • It is better to travel with a small amount of luggage.
  • Eating dinner with the family is a good experience.
  • Hard floors are better than carpets.
  • Dogs are better pets than cats.
  • Taking the bus/train can be a good/bad experience.
  • It is necessary for me to have a car.
  • I don’t like my job.
  • My boss is a good manager.
  • I love this weather.
  • Adelaide/ (any other place) is a great place to live.

Make up your own topics like these and practise creating logical arguments in support of the statement.

A Tale of Two Friends

In a middle class suburb of Adelaide, 15 years ago, two friends lived next door to each other. They were very much alike, these two women. Both were married to good husbands, both had 3 young school aged children, both worked as professionals.

In a middle class suburb of Adelaide, 15 years ago, two friends lived next door to each other. They were very much alike, these two women. Both were married to good husbands, both had 3 young school aged children, both worked as professionals, both seemed pretty well adjusted and both – as young mums are – were filled with hopes and dreams for the future.

At some point, one of the families moved house — and the ladies lost touch.

Recently, these two ladies bumped into each other in a shopping centre. They were still alike in many ways. Both were still pretty happily married. Both had three grown up children. Both were still working in professional jobs.

But there was a difference. One of the women was excited about the future of her new ventures – she was feeling really happy within herself now that the children had left home.

The other was fighting off depression and a sense of aimless loneliness now that her role as mother had changed dramatically.

What Made The Difference?

Have you ever wondered, as I have, what makes this kind of difference in people’s lives?

It wasn’t, in this case, any family history of depression; it wasn’t that the sad friend had had a severe trauma or tragedy; it wasn’t that the lifestyle of the happy one was any more or less outwardly ‘happy’ than the lifestyle of the other; it wasn’t physical genetic makeup. Both women have challenges in many areas of life.

The difference lies in how they view and manage the challenges that arise in life.

And that is why I am writing about Life Alignment. (
Life Alignment is a revolutionary modality that assists people to balance out negative energy, clear their heart and move forward to a place of peace and happiness.

A Modality Unlike Any Other

You see, Life Alignment is a unique way of dealing with stress and distress in your life. Through highly developed processes and technology it enables people to move past the old wounds that are stuck in the psyche — and even the physical cells. These are the unconscious blockages that make people feel sad, angry, desperate or unhinged. They stop people from learning the best lessons from the uphill challenges that seem to repeat.

Life Alignment has been developed by Jeff Levin, a South African/Israeli architect turned Doctor of Natural Medicine, who healed himself from serious intestinal problems. Jeff has transformed thousands of lives with Life Alignment. And he has taught Life Alignment to many hundreds of practitioners who have transformed the lives of many thousands of people all over the world.

What is the transformation of Life Alignment?

So what does it mean when I say ‘transformed’?

I mean that a client comes in with a problem in any area of life: an emotional problem, a career problem, a problem with children, a problem with health, a problem with relationships, a problem with luck – a problem that is making them crazy with negativity.

The Life Alignment Practitioner reads the person’s energy body through muscle testing and dowsing. They then shift and transform the body’s electrical energy through special Life Alignment Vortex Technology.

In the session, working with words, a story emerges from some time in life. It is a story that may be profound, or it may be quite light but symbolic of something deep — it is always the perfect story – never too heavy. That story is processed and cleared using talk and vortex technology — in a way unique to Life Alignment. It is like cleaning up long-term mess or clutter in your house.
Sometimes there is no story but the energy is processed using other methods.

Personal transformation occurs during the session – or the series of sessions – and the problem eases – – or goes away completely – – to be replaced with a feeling of well-being. A well-being that can then carry that person to happy, fulfilling new places and away from the dark place. What has happened is that new neural pathways have been opened up in their brain – and the negative ones closed down.

Now, that is a very brief rundown of a Life Alignment session, and it does not convey the profound significance of what can happen.

What results can happen?

  • I have seen my clients clear desperate depressive, suicidal energy (very quickly).
  • I have helped people through marriage separation and into new relationships – simply by clearing the stuck energy that would normally take years to shift.
  • I have seen troubled couples reunite.
  • I have assisted women to clear away the emotional debris of their lives in preparation for pregnancy – calming the nervous system to make the body a safe home for a new life.
  • I have helped people to manifest their visions for the future and set up successful business ventures.
  • I have seen people shift something like IBS or other physical symptoms through clearing a story or negative emotion from their energy field.
  • I have seen people fortify their energy field and boundaries to simply rise above bullies at work or school – standing in their own strength and clarifying the actions to take.
  • I have seen children heal significantly from learning disabilities.
  • I have seen really fast transformations and also slow, gradual blossoming of a person’s true self.
  • Sometimes I don’t see anything except a blissfully calm, relaxed client on my massage table after 90 minutes. They leave and I don’t see them again until perhaps I bump into them and they say “I haven’t been back because I haven’t had any more problems / I came off my anti-depressants/ I have a new job / partner . . .”

What Made the Difference Between the Happy Woman and the Sad one?

As it happens, our happy empty nester from the story above was a client of a Life Alignment practitioner in Adelaide. She had in fact had a number of emotional challenges in her life which could have overwhelmed her. However, at a time when she realised that events in life were making her spiral downwards, she took responsibility for her own feelings and her own happiness and starting working with a Life Alignment practitioner. She was fortunate to have found the Life Alignment practitioner — but very wise to have made Life Alignment a regular part of her life.

Life Alignment in South Australia

Life Alignment is growing in South Australia. If you have never had a Life Alignment session, you cannot imagine how beneficial it can be to you.

I cannot promise you that your life will change in one session (it could well do though) but I guarantee that you will receive great benefit from Life Alignment technology and processes if you persevere and allow it to transform your heart . . . your life.

This is why my motto is: “Clear your heart, Free your Life, Live your Light”

Life Alignment Practitioner