HOW TO TALK ABOUT THE PANDEMIC

with No Comments
With the pandemic being around for some time now, it’s become a discussion topic and is also likely to appear as a topic in a spoken or written exam, as well as a listening and reading topic, of course.
Here’s a sample exam discussion topic (LEVEL 3 SPEAKING TASK 2) I’ve come up with on the basis of what the media are saying and people are talking about. Plus, I’ve suggested some possible arguments and examples for a discussion. At the end of the post, you’ll also find a list of some useful phrases and vocabulary.
In case you’re new to STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3 SPEAKING, here are some useful posts:
LEVEL 3 SPEAKING – BASIC INFO
STANAG 6001 LEVEL 3 MARKING CRITERIA
SAMPLE LEVEL 3 DISCUSSION
SAMPLE LEVEL 3 BRIEFING
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IN A BRIEFING
COMMON MISTAKES TO AVOID IN A DISCUSSION

 

SAMPLE DISCUSSION TOPIC

Part A

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a preventive lock-down in many countries, which has been related to many changes in human life. Look at the following areas of change and decide which of them has been the most and the least difficult to adapt to.
 ONLINE WORKING AND LEARNING        TRAVELLING RESTRICTIONS        SOCIAL ISOLATION

POSSIBLE ARGUMENTS

ONLINE LEARNING AND WORKING
  1. TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES AND SHORTAGES
  • with parents and children working and learning from home, families may experience difficulties with sharing or the appropriate amount of equipment at home;
  • problems related to using online conferencing platforms and applications;
  • Internet access and online connection difficulties.
  1. SPACE AND TIME ISSUES
  • difficulties with learning and working from home with all the family members locked down at home;
  • how to accommodate working from home and looking after children;
  • children learning online, especially the younger ones, need constant assistance.
  1. INABILITY TO WORK FROM HOME
  • many jobs, especially those in services, are impossible to be done from home;
  • jobs requiring contact with other people cannot be performed online;
  • strategic jobs need to be done during the pandemic regardless of the danger of contracting a disease;
  • inability to work from home due to the necessity to take care of the children who can’t go to schools and kindergartens.

 

TRAVELLING RESTRICTIONS
  1. INABILITY TO CROSS BORDERS FREELY
  • difficulties with going back home from abroad when the restrictions were introduced;
  • inability to travel for work – resulting in lost jobs, business bankruptcies or suspension of activity;
  • inability to visit family or friends.

 

  1. SUSPENDED FLIGH AND TRAIN SERVICES
  • lack of transportation options other than private ones;
  • inability to travel long distances;
  • cancelled holidays, events.
  1. PUBLIC TRANSPORT RESTRICTIONS
  • limiting number of connections or barring access to public transport altogether by municipalities – inability to travel to work everyday;
  • necessity to use private transport, such as private cars or taxies;
  • loss of jobs – due to the inability to get to work everyday.

 

SOCIAL ISOLATION
  1. LIMITED HUMAN CONTACT
  • lack of normal human contact is difficult both for adults and children;
  • it is a basic human need which when unfulfilled may lead to depression, anxiety;
  • online contact cannot replace meeting other people in real life.
  1. CONFINEMENT WITH THE SAME GROUP OF PEOPLE
  • being locked down with the same, small grup of people can cause conflicts;
  • for some children, lack of contact with the school – insecurity because of the loss of contact with teachers and friends.

 

  1. DOMESTIC VIOLENCE
  • an increase in domestic violence has been reported due to lockdown, with people experiencing violence confined with their oppressors;
  • lack of possibility to leave home and seek help with the appropriate institutions;
  • lack of ability to isolate oneself from the oppressor.

 

Part B

  1. How will human life change in the post-COVID-19 pandemic world?
  • working from home
  • online learning
  • less travelling
  • online shopping
  • take away food
  • online services (e.g. training programmes)
  • more caution in social contact

 

  1. What have been the most significant consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic? Why?
  • loss of lives
  • frozen economy – economic standstill
  • expected economic crisis
  • lost jobs, unemployment
  • decreased salaries
  • business bankruptcies

 

 

3. What problems have schools experienced during the pandemic?
  • unprepared and unequipped for online learning
  • teachers not trained in online teaching
  • limited access to equipment, software, or the Internet
  • lack of contact with some students
  • organisational chaos
  • lack of uniformity in requirements and software used.

 

USEFUL VOCABULARY

reach epidemic proportions
face the threat of
contract a disease
pass the airborn virus through coughing and sneezing
contagion
new strain of virus/bug
drug resistant strain
outbreak of an epidemic
produce severe symptoms, including high fever, chills, aches, cough
transmitted by air
contracting the disease takes place through person-to-person contact 
cause fatalities among the elderly and chronically ill
take drastic measures
safeguard the population
working on a vaccine and drug
epidemic-size outbreaks of a disease may spread 

 

Now, there. You’ve read it! Now what?
What you can do is:
  • brainstorm more arguments,
  • develop full paragraphs using the suggested arguments and vocabulary,
  • record your statement and listen to it for mistakes or improvements,
  • record new vocabulary,
  • write to me and say what you think  (comment below or write an e-mail: info@stanagexpert.com – I answer every e-mail!).

 

PS. Be sure to let me know if you find this useful. Your opinion is most important to me! Just comment below or drop me a line: info@stanagexpet.com.

PPS. There’s a bunch of stuff going on on FB and Insta right now, so hop in:

stanagexpert – INSTAGRAM

StanagExpert – STANAg6001 Exams on FACEBOOK

 

Leave a Reply