I like teaching IELTS (International English Language Testing System) because we deal with current events and practical issues. I also like it because it is a test of English where every aspect of life is analyzed from the point of view of past, present and future. This is a wonderful opportunity to think about how far we have come as a civilization and how far we may progress.

We cannot see into a crystal ball and definitely say what the future will be. Some say that is why the journey of life is so stimulating and interesting. But we can make predictions looking at the current trends. Many people predicted Brazil and Argentina were the odds-on favorites to win the World Cup but now we know those predictions did not pan out.

Students of history are taught that if man does not study the past and learn from the past then he is doomed to repeat history. So whether you are taking the IELTS exam or not, it pays to study history and try to learn some lessons from it.

Think of everything by looking at the short-term, medium-term and long-term implications. IELTS loves getting students to look at whether there is a future for a particular product or service. For example, is there a future for books, newspapers and movies? This type of exercise gets us to focus upon the development of these industries and possible future directions. In the short term (next five years), I doubt whether there will be much change but in the long term, say 20 to 30 years from now, I think the traditional book as we know it will be history.

Do you think books have a future? For at least 20 years and perhaps longer since the advent of television we have been questioning the future of books. When I look at my consumption of books, I rarely read a fiction book. My diet of fiction comes from TV and movies. So in that sense fiction books are no longer a part of my life and the lives of millions of others who prefer to watch programs and feature films. The last time many people read a fiction book was at school.

When it comes to non-fiction books, I still buy books because I like to refer to them and I find them easier to handle than using a computer. Having said that the internet is a very powerful source of information too and I do think I am buying less non-fiction books nowadays.

Books were once written on animal skin, so probably books using paper will go the way of the dodo (extinct bird). Materials and information are now easily accessible through the internet so probably obtaining information this way will increase. However, some people will always want to hold a physical conventional copy than read it online. Also in some societies, books are given as gifts. One of my favorite books is a book given by my grandmother to my father when he was 16. An illustrated book about the history of mankind. No computer program can match the feeling I get when I leaf through that book. So I doubt that books will ever totally disappear.

Having said that it will be a brave new world with more audio and visual stimuli. Gradually all forms of expression will merge and be available on the internet.

Author's Bio: 

Susan McKenzie is a London-trained lawyer and English teacher. Read articles written by Susan at Susan McKenzie teaches at Linguaphone in Singapore. For enquiries about the courses Tel: 8455 8534, Email: