Task 2 (Day 1)

Task instructions:
Read the text. Then in your own words:
 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.
Former US President Barack Obama has said that reading taught him who he is and what he believes in. Reading books has also been shown to reduce stress, boost brain functioning and even improve empathy. That’s not to mention the obvious benefits of all the information you get from books. Consider this: according to a 2017 survey of 1,875 people in the UK, the average British adult spends almost three hours on their phone each day. To find at least an hour a day to spend with books, most people would just have to reduce their screen time by a third.
From: http://www.bbc.com
Additional questions:
• What can be done to encourage young people to read more?
• Do you believe that reading a book can change a person? Why/Why not?
One of the questions that always comes up is whether media violence promotes violent or aggressive behaviour. This is something that is especially important to think about as violent content is common on television and in movies, on the Internet, and in some of the most popular children’s video games. Research does suggest that violent media can cause aggressive behaviour in children, and that this behaviour can be incredibly problematic if the violent media content includes guns. Some parents agree that children should be kept away from violent media, and from toy weapons.
From: http://www.psychologytoday.com
Additional questions:
• Should parents control what their children watch on TV and online? Why/Why not?
• Do you think you are affected by mass media? In what way/Why not?
It is a gift when you have free time. However, quite often people have no plan how to spend it. The problem with unstructured time is that the hours can quickly go by, and you may realize you are still in your pyjamas or wasting time on YouTube. Is there a solution? Yes! You can plan relaxing activities, too. If you plan in advance what you would like to do, you are more likely to follow through on that plan. You may want to take a leisurely walk, treat yourself to your favourite food, or pop into the local bookstore. Planning increases your opportunity to experience a wider range of positive experiences.
From: http://www.psychologytoday.com
Additional questions:
• If you did not have to work or study for a year, what would you do with your free time?
• Do you think it is wise to have long-term plans for your life? Why?

No matter how you feel about it, Instagram is a legitimate career path and an industry as established influencers can become millionaires. But the app’s environment has become increasingly pressurised and competitive. Regular users are overwhelmed with sponsored and manipulated content as Instagrammers frantically chase likes and views. To address this, Instagram has proposed hiding public likes altogether, much to the unhappiness of influencers. Mental health campaigners will breathe a collective sigh of relief as ‘like culture’ leads to endless comparisons, and Instagram is cited as having a particularly negative effect on mental wellbeing.
From: http://www.bbc.com
Additional questions:
• Do you think influencers are always honest with their followers? Please explain.
• Why do so many young people dream of becoming an influence?
The exchange of gifts is a universal tradition which dates back long ago. The root reason we give gifts is that we are supposed to. It is tradition that requires a gift for occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, dinner parties, etc. Underlying that tradition is an important purpose: showing appreciation and gratitude. Nevertheless, it is wrong to assume that the more expensive the gift, the more it expresses appreciation. This is because gifts don’t express acknowledgment, people do. We can demonstrate our appreciation with actions and confirm it with an ideal gift.
From: www.my-ideal-gift.com
Additional questions:
• What makes you happy when giving gifts to others and receiving them?
• What would you most like to receive as a gift? Why?
A completely new kind of school has been opened in the district of Kallio in Helsinki. There are no classes, no teachers, no textbooks and no tuition fee. Instead, students work in teams, learn by doing and solve real-world problems. The study programme provides them with future-proof skills to help them secure employment in the field of digital technology. However, the school is not for those who prefer to learn skills in a traditional way, since knowledge is gained through experiments and investigations carried out by students independently.
From: www.hive.fi
Additional questions:
• What important lessons does school teach to students these days?
• How can schools adapt to the technologies students are already using?