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Should visitors follow local customs and behavior?
Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 Topic Rating: 0 (0 votes) 
July 22, 2012
8:46 am
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Some people believe that visitors to other countries should follow local customs and behavior. Others disagree and think that the host country should welcome cultural differences.

Discuss both these views and give your own opinion.


 Step 1: Read the question

Compare / contrast Opinion

Topic: culture, travel

Step 2: Underline key words

Visitor = guest, tourist, sightseer, traveller

Country = nation, region, area, place

Follow = obey, comply with, abide by, conform to,

Local (adj.) = indigenous

Local (n.) = resident, inhabitant, citizen, native

Custom = tradition, convention, norm, way

Behavior = conduct, way, etiquette

Welcome = greet, accept, appreciate

Cultural = national, social, ethnic, racial, traditional,

Difference = dissimilarity, distinction, unlikeness, variety

Step 3: Get Ideas

Should follow local customs and behavior

1. Avoid inconveniences and conflicts

2. Better appreciate local cultural heritage

3. Travel cost can be reduced

Should welcome cultural differences

1. Tourism is a manifestation of the human desire for variety and exploration

2. Hard for all tourists

3. Visitors’ habits should be respected

Step 4: Decide Layout

This essay will discuss both sides, so I will use the 3773 layout.

Step 5: Write!

Nowadays, millions of people travel to other countries for sightseeing. Some people feel that sightseers should learn the indigenous cultures before an international travel. However, many people argue that tourists, as consumers, have a right to do what they want. This essay will examine some of the arguments for and against letting tourists to obey local conventions.

It is necessary for tourists to comply with local norms and behavior to some degree. Firstly, this helps visitors avoid many inconveniences and conflicts during their trip abroad. For instance, Asian tourists would be spared the embarrassment of upsetting their servers if they follow the custom of tipping in an American restaurant. Likewise, western travellers may avoid being highly obtrusive if they main calm and solemn in an Asian place of worship. Secondly, efforts to adopt local conventions allow foreign sightseers to better appreciate the indigenous cultural heritage. Accordingly, they can identify with local rites, rituals, folklores and even handicrafts. Finally, travel cost can be reduced. Visitors would easily obtained help from residents, if they had learned local customs.

Nonetheless, cultural differences between tourists and local inhabitants should be preserved to some extent. Firstly, tourism is a manifestation of the human desire for variety and exploration. Generally, visitors want to experience an exotic culture that differs from their own. If all the cultural differences were eliminated, how much pressure and excitement we would lose? Furthermore, the practicality of having all the tourists adopt the local norms and etiquettes is questionable. Not all tourists would be willing to turn an expensive transnational trip intended for pleasure into a cultural lesson that requires hard work to learn. Lastly, visitors’ habits should be respected. It would be demanding for foreigners to alter their behavior patterns in a short period.

In conclusion, for visitors, leaning some basic culture of the destination bring about a more convenient, stimulating and less expensive travel. Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to let all the travellers to obey all the norms and behavior.

Readability Calculator  (e.g. Word count and readability tool 1 or Word count and readability tool 2)

Number of characters (without spaces): 1,800.00
Number of words: 329.00
Number of sentences: 22.00
Average number of characters per word: 5.47
Average number of syllables per word: 1.84
Average number of words per sentence: 14.95

Gunning Fog index : 14.37
Coleman Liau index : 14.42
Flesch Kincaid Grade level : 11.94
ARI (Automated Readability Index) : 11.82
SMOG : 13.44
Flesch Reading Ease : 36.08

July 22, 2012
8:54 pm
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Hi Colin

I'm glad to see that you are trying out the steps from elsewhere on the Writefix website. I hope it helps. I think that underlining and keywords is useful.

The tone and language in Paragraph Three are quite different from that in Paragraph Two. Make sure to use your own ideas, words and phrases. IELTS examiners are like trained police dogs: they can sniff out a memorized or plagiarized sentence from 100 meters. Plus they can always use Google search...

Word Choice/Word Form/Usage

  • sightseers should learn the indigenous cultures before an international travel → sightseers should learn the indigenous cultures before international travel  OR sightseers should learn the indigenous cultures before traveling
  • Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to let all the travellers to obey all the norms and behavior. → Nevertheless, it is unrealistic to require all travellers to obey all local norms and behavior.
  • This essay will examine some of the arguments for and against letting tourists to obey local conventions. → This essay will examine some of the arguments for and against expecting tourists to obey local conventions.
  • how much pressure and excitement we would lose?  → how much pressure and excitement would we lose?

You wrote:

they can identify with local rites, rituals, folklores and even handicrafts.

‘Identify’ is a very good word for the first three, but not for handicrafts.  You could leave it out, or you could add another phrase:

they can identify with local rites, rituals and folklore and understand the local handicrafts.

You wrote:

Visitors would easily obtained help from residents, if they had learned local customs.

Change the tense (simple present is fine) and omit the unnecessary comma:

Visitors can easily obtain help from local residents if they learn local customs.

Shorten/Simplify

Not all tourists would be willing to turn an expensive transnational trip intended for pleasure into a cultural lesson that requires hard work to learn. (25 words)

It’s fine, but could be shorter:

Not all tourists would be willing to turn an expensive foreign vacation into a stuffy cultural lesson. (17 words)

Clarify

You wrote:

Asian tourists would be spared the embarrassment of upsetting their servers if they follow the custom of tipping in an American restaurant.

I’m not sure Colin here -  do you mean Asian tourists should or shouldn’t tip when visting the US?  What is the American custom? It’s not quite clear.

Reference

At the end of Paragraph Three, you wrote:

Lastly, visitors’ habits should be respected. It would be demanding for foreigners to alter their behavior patterns in a short period.

The word ‘foreigners’ is confusing -  is it the foreign visitors, or the people who live in a foreign country? Here’s one possible rewrite:

Lastly, visitors’ habits should be respected. It’s unrealistic to expect holiday-makers to completely alter their behavior just for a short trip to a different country.

Overall, it’s a clear simple essay with some great phrases and original sentences. Keep it up!  I would like more of you in it. It's an opinion essay. Don't be afraid to say "I" or "you."

July 23, 2012
3:56 am
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Hi Mr.Enda

I recently have read the article from official IELTS site about memorizing. I think it good to share and paste some part of it here.

We address the challenge of assessing performance when IELTS (Academic Writing Task 2) candidates may have memorized and reproduced lengthy chunks of text that potentially disguise their true proficiency. Our profiling procedure separates out text that is more and less likely to reflect the candidate’s genuine linguistic knowledge. The procedure was applied to 233 retired scripts by Chinese candidates, and the results are analyzed by band and test centre.

As expected, errors decreased as band increased. Similarly, the quantity of non-generic nativelike text increased with band. But the use of material copied from the question and of ‘generic’ nativelike text (text that can be used in most essays) remained constant across bands for all but one test centre. Using the mean profiles as norms, a script known to be problematic was examined, to demonstrate how profiling can isolate the nature of differences. To assist examiners, a simplified version of the profiling procedure is offered, that can be used as an informal diagnostic. The profiling procedure recognizes the legitimacy of producing some pre-memorized nativelike material in a writing test, by contextualizing it within the broader pattern of the candidate’s written performance overall. The procedure requires further refinement than was possible within this modest project, but already suggests potential strategies for IELTS examiners to recognize memorized material in writing tests.

6.1 Recommendations to IELTS examiners
This study is able to make some first recommendations for the future training of IELTS examiners, regarding scripts that appear to have excessive memorized material. Firstly, the strong negative correlation in our sample between band score and the level of errors, and the positive correlation between band score and non-/topicgeneric nativelike language, indicate that the banding procedures are robust. The reason why potentially memorized material is problematic is precisely because it does not correlate with proficiency (though it did for Hong Kong scripts—see earlier). This means that examiners should have confidence in their intuitions regarding suspicious scripts.

Secondly, the evidence that memorization can be the path to effective learning, in both a first and second language, coupled with the fact that native speakers legitimately internalize useful turns of phrase as part of their own preparation for tests and exams, jointly create a dilemma in relation to whether it is appropriate to reward apparently memorized material. Examiners need not, therefore, feel that it is up to them to solve the problem of a suspect script: the difficulty is inherent and essentially insoluble, since there is no independent way to tell what the candidate truly ‘knows’ (nor any uncontentious way to define ‘knowledge’ in this regard).

Thirdly, if faced with a perplexing script, the examiner can adopt the simplified profiling approach described in this report, by highlighting continuous runs of linguistic material falling into the category ‘nativelike non- or topic-generic’: that is, material that is nativelike but not copied from the question, and that would not be worth memorizing for generic use across all written tasks. Isolated words, ie, words that are surrounded by material that would fall into another category, should not be counted as non-/topic-generic (see earlier description of buffer material). It is recommended that the procedure be carried out not only for the suspect script but also for a handful of uncontentious others, as a means of gauging the reliability of the coding relative to the norms provided here.

By counting the total number of words highlighted, and comparing them to the norm for the band the script appears to fall into, it should be possible to ascertain whether there are grounds for identifying the suspect script as abnormal (and the others profiled at the same time as normal). The present study suggests the following norms (based on a lower threshold of 2.5 standard deviations from the mean), though further research should be done on much larger samples to confirm these values. In particular, the Band 5 threshold, as determined in this study, seems possibly a little high relative to the others.

 Band 3 scripts contain no less than 22% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.
 Band 4 scripts contain no less than 26% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.
 Band 5 scripts contain no less than 37% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.
 Band 6 scripts contain no less than 40% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.
 Band 7 scripts contain no less than 50% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.
 Band 8 scripts contain no less than 59% non-/topic-generic nativelike material.

As the analyses in Section 5 showed, scripts falling below the threshold are not necessarily irregular—something that can be ascertained by examining other features of the profile. A truly problematic script, such as the one profiled in Section 4, will be strikingly different in regard to the distribution of the profile components. The purpose of the profiling should never be construed as that of ‘proving’ that material in a script has been memorized. That simply is not possible. Rather, profiling offers a means by which the examiner can offer a justification for his/her disquiet, as part of the case for a review of the script.

6.2 Recommendation to IELTS

We have argued in this report that a certain amount of memorized material in a script is not only acceptable but an indicator of task proficiency. We have also shown that in a given sample, such as the 233 scripts

....

**** To download the article : http://www.ielts.org/PDF/Vol9_Report5.pdf

July 23, 2012
10:56 am
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writefix
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Hi Brian

Thanks for this report and well done on finding it. There are many other interesting reports on the same site.

The research reports at http://www.ielts.org/researchers/research.aspx are usually funded or part-funded by IELTS but do not necessarily represent IELTS policy. However, some of the recommendations do find their way eventually into IELTS policies and procedures.

As I see it, there are three main findings in their report:

  1. The writers Wray and Legg are very sympathetic to the use of rote and memorization in learning a language. They suggest that all of us use this strategy in learning our first language, and that it can have benefits both from having a resource of memorized data with or without complete initial understanding e.g. for exams or social use, and as a body of language for the brain to work on 'unconsciously'.
      
  2. They do not see any need to change the banding criteria for IELTS.
       
  3. They suggest that examiners who see a 'problem' script (an essay with a lot of apparently memorized language) focus not on generic phrases, nor on errors, but on "the extent to which the candidate is able, when not supported by prefabricated material of some kind, to write in error-free English" - or to produce  "linguistic material falling into the category ‘nativelike non- or topic-generic’: that is, material that is nativelike but not copied from the question, and that would not be worth memorizing for generic use across all written tasks."

Basically they say that is very useful for learners to memorize. However, they suggest IELTS examiners can distinguish between writers who have only memorized and writers who are able to write original material by ignoring the memorized phrases (which many examiners do already anyway) and instead focusing on writers' attempts at novel (new), non-generic, non-topic-specific language.

The table the authors give is slightly confusing, in that it seems to 'allow' or approve the use of memorized material. What the table provides is a suggested (and as regards IELTS policy, still unapproved) way of looking for original, non-generic, non-topic-specific language where there is a concern over a script being memorized. So a Band 7 script, according to the authors, should have at least 50% of original, error-free, native-like language that would not be possible or worthwhile to memorize. 

So yes, in essence, go ahead and memorize because it helps you to learn, and hopefully the effort of memorizing will result in an ability to write original material. But without evidence of original use of the new language, rote memorization may not result in a higher exam score.

Thanks Brian for starting my week with an academic paper. Now I need coffee!

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