Task 2

Task instructions:
Read the text. Then in your own words:
1. define briefly what the main issue/problem is;
2. say what you think about the issue raised in the text;
3. provide arguments and examples to support your opinion;
4. come to a conclusion;
5. answer one additional question which the examiner will ask you at the end of your monologue.
You have 2 minutes to prepare.
Speaking time: 5 minutes.

Should mobile phones be banned in schools? Finnish education expert Pasi Sahlberg believes that mobile phone-related distraction is the main reason for Australia’s lower exam results. Parents and teachers have similar concerns about technology distracting students from schoolwork (as well as cyberbullying and safety). Do the benefits of having phones in classrooms, such as contact with parents and learning opportunities outweigh the disadvantages? According to recent research, the mere presence of one’s phone consumes attention even when it is not being checked – we have reduced working memory capacity and fluid intelligence when our phone is upside down, silent on our desk compared to when it is in another room.
Additional questions:
• What does a “good education” mean to you?
• Should students determine themselves how, when and where they will study?
We may be living in the digital age, but reading books is still a big part of growing up. The books that young people read – and how difficult they are – can have a massive impact on their ability to understand exam questions, tell fake news apart from real news and get informed and involved in society. While secondary school students might not be expected to read The Economist, as young adults that level of comprehension might be necessary to become an informed citizen. Young people almost certainly do not realise the problems that come when they do not challenge themselves to read difficult books.
Additional questions:
• How much time should students spend reading?
• Is it important to read books which have won international awards?
Plastic is lightweight, flexible, moisture resistant and relatively inexpensive. Packaging based on synthetic polymers has allowed supermarkets to offer a wider range of fresh produce that stays fresh longer. Computers, toothbrushes and synthetic clothing contain plastic. Modern medicine has also greatly benefited from the disposable plastic syringe. Unfortunately our dependence on plastic is problematic. Microplastic has been found in Antarctica and the Arctic, not to mention also in tap water worldwide. A study from 2016 has warned that unless the world takes drastic action to recycle, there will be more plastic than fish in the world’s oceans by 2050.
Additional questions:
• Is it possible to stop the over-consumption of plastic goods?
• Should companies be more environmentally responsible for what they produce?

Online portals, which aim to create virtual, navigable versions of cities across the world, offer customers an opportunity to see new sights or enjoy exotic adventures without leaving the comfort of their own space. This is ideal for some people who are worried for the future of the planet. For the travel industry itself, Virtual Reality technology is the ideal supplement to their marketing campaigns. Hotels are already jumping on board with this new technology, and it will not be long before nearly every tour and activity operator offers some type of VR experience to their travellers.
Additional questions:
• Could virtual reality technology replace the real travel experience?
• Do you think tourism is harmful to the earth?

Some people feel as though their vote does not count, so they do not participate in elections: “I do not care about politics”, “It does not affect me”, “Nothing will change anyway”, “Electoral promises are meaningless”. Others take a different point of view – voting is one of the best ways for people to elicit change, especially at a time when people feel disappointed by the actions of politicians. Participating in elections is a way to show the government that people will not take things lying down and they will vote them out if they are not doing what is in the best interests of their country.
Additional questions:
• Why is it usually the young who neglect to vote?
• Should the voting age be lowered to the age of 16?

Teenagers have a lot on their plates, school work, social stresses, personal growth and perhaps first jobs. With all of the changes taking place, it is no wonder that teenagers are often exhausted. The Children’s Hospital Boston reports that fatigue is a common complaint among teenagers. Poor sleep, allergies, stress and depression are among the most common causes for lack of energy in teens. Lifestyle factors also play a role. TeenGrowth.com states that only 20% of adolescents meet the 9-hour recommendation for sleep during the week, with 45% sleeping less than 8 hours each night. Poor diet can also be detrimental; teens who consume too much sugar or caffeine or who do not get enough nutrients can have low energy.
Additional questions:
• What do you think some of the main challenges facing teenagers today are?
• How does the media affect the thinking of today’s teenagers?