Various opinions about lowering the voting age from 18 to 16

Preparation material

Innholdsfortegnelse

· Discussion of the topic

· Text 1: Selection of six texts

· Text 2: Various opinions about lowering the voting age from 18 to 16

· Text 3: Vocational students

· Text 4: “To recruit enough big-rig drivers, the government would give keys to teens”

· Text 5: “Teen Drivers Risk Death with Young Passengers”

· Text 6: The Grand Apizza conflict

· Text 7: Exchange of emails

· Text 8: “How old is old enough? Legal age limits in English-speaking countries”

· Text 9 – Extract from the novel Slam by Nick Hornby (adapted)

Discussion of the topic

The preparation material for Engelsk fellesfag høst 2019 begins with a presentation of the topic “Old Enough”. It explains that teenagers have access to more activities and opportunities as they get older, but also have to take on more responsibilities. The topic of how old is old enough for different activities and responsibilities is a concern for governments, society, and for the individual.

While the texts in the preparation material provide you with different perspectives on how old is old enough for various activities, the presentation also encourages you to learn about other activities with age restrictions through your own research.

The presentation also states that the preparation material includes texts from various genres and encourages you to consider how these texts relate to your work during the English course.  

Text 1: Selection of six texts

Text 1 is a selection of six different texts that present examples of contexts in which the idea of being old enough has been discussed. Each text is accompanied by a picture which represents either people that the texts refer to, or the context discussed in the text.

Old enough to be President (Ireland)? speaks about a referendum that was held in Ireland in 2015 to decide whether the minimum age of the President should be lowered from 35 to 21. The text includes an opinion in favor of lowering the voting age, and it also informs us that the proposal of lowering the age limit was not passed.

Old enough to be President (USA)? informs us that the minimum age required to be President in the US is 35. It includes a picture of Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez who is 29 years old and is the youngest woman ever elected to US Congress.

Old enough to be a soldier? features a quote from journalist Alan Greenblatt, who says that 18 is a good age to recruit soldiers because people are fearless at that age. It then quotes a spokesperson from Child Soldiers International, who argues that the Army takes advantage of  young people with limited options in life by recruiting them to dangerous roles. 

Old enough to drive? is another quote by journalist Alan Greenblatt, who believes that letting young people drive is good for society in a way that is not equivalent to lowering the drinking age.

Old enough to buy alcohol? is a quote by Will Fulton, who enumerates some of the things that 18-year-olds are allowed to do in the US, such as voting, driving, and fighting for their country. He suggests it is therefore ironic that 18-year-olds are not allowed to drink alcohol.

Old enough to be convicted? includes a quote by journalist Neal Conan, who points out that 18-year-olds cannot legally drink or rent a car, but that, in many states, 10-year-olds can be tried as adults for murder.

Text 2: Various opinions about lowering the voting age from 18 to 16

Text 2 is a compilation of six texts on the idea of lowering the voting age from 18 to 16. Each of the texts is presented in a circle and most of them refer to the United Kingdom. 

The text on the upper left corner presents the opinion of two social scientists who believe that 16-year-olds are not mature enough to vote, because their brains are not fully developed. The text on the upper right is a quote by The Earl of Listowel. He suggests that young people spend a lot of time online, and may be particularly vulnerable to attempts at online manipulation.

The text on the middle-left is a quote by Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie, who argues that many issues would benefit from the perspective of 16- and 17-year-olds. The text on the middle-right is a quote by Scottish Labour politician Lewis Macdonald, who declares that the reason behind extending the right to vote is the knowledge that democracy works.

The text on the lower-left is a quote by university academic David Davenport, who is concerned that lowering the voting age might mean giving power to the people who are the least politically informed. and experienced, as well as unprepared to make long-term judgments. He suggests that this would negatively affect voter turnout and results. The text on the lower-right is a quote by Professor David Runciman, who points out that young people are not well represented, because the minimum voting age is 18, but there is no upper age limit on voting.

Text 3: Vocational students

Text 3 states that vocational students typically begin to work at an earlier age than other young people. It adds that some people argue that they are too young to take on such responsibilities.

The text includes six images of young people working in different industries, such as food preparation, construction, electrical engineering, healthcare, and various factory industries. The text also includes a link to a website that contains statistics and stories about young people being injured at work, as well as advice for preventing such injuries.

Text 4: “To recruit enough big-rig drivers, the government would give keys to teens”

Text 4 is an adapted version of an article written by Chris Arnold of National Public Radio. The text includes a picture of Eric Pennucci, an employee of a Boston trucking firm, with an explanation noting that he does not agree with 18-year-olds driving tractor-trailers. In the US, the law requires that tractor-trailer drivers must be at least 21 years old to drive a tractor-trailer across state borders. The federal government wants to lower the age from 21 to 18.

Jackie Gillian, is quoted saying that allowing younger people to drive big trucks will result in more crashes, deaths, and injuries. Eric Pennucci explains that being a trucker is a high-stress job and that truck drivers should be experienced and calm under pressure. He suggests that his company does not hire drivers under 21 for safety reasons. The text ends by saying that some trucking companies have difficulties finding drivers, so they are willing to hire 18-year-olds.

Text 5: “Teen Drivers Risk Death with Young Passengers”

Text 5 is an infographic subtitled “A 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of being killed in a crash increases when there are young passengers in the vehicle”.

The infographic explains that a 16- or 17-year-old driver’s risk of being killed in a crash quadruples when three or more passengers under 21 are also in the car. The risk doubles with two young passengers, and increases by 44% with one young passenger. In contrast, the risk of a 16- or 17-year-old driver being killed in a crash decreases by 62% when an adult over 35 is in the car.

Thus, the infographic advices that it is much better for new drivers to gain driving experience with their parents, rather than drive around with other young people. 

Text 6: The Grand Apizza conflict

This is a fictional text written by Utdanningsdirektoratet. It is based on two articles that detail the conflict between the Nuzzo family and Connecticut state officials. The Nuzzos are accused by state officials of violating child labor laws by allowing their children to work in the family’s pizzeria. 

The letter is written from the perspective of Michael Nuzzo, the 13-year-old grandson of the man who first opened Grand Apizza 70 years before. Michael and his siblings are the third generation working at the pizzeria. Michael seems upset that a government official came and forbid them from working there.  

Michael explains that he goes to school and does all his homework, and that he only works at Grand Apizza in the weekend. He also says that he enjoys the work and sees it as an opportunity for bonding with his father and grandfather. Michael also speaks about his younger brother and sister, who also help at the restaurant. Michael believes that this is good for them. He says that working at there teaches them responsibility, good manners, and hygiene. He ends his statement by saying that he hopes that the government will leave his family alone.

Text 7: Exchange of emails

This text is an exchange of emails between Betty Simpson, an 11-year-old girl, and an unnamed Communications Manager at PEGI, an organization that places age restrictions on video games.

In the first email, Betty argues against the age restriction on the game Fortnite, which requires players to be over 12. Betty is upset that she is too young to play the game. She argues that video game violence is less severe than the violence she has come across in cartoons and books. She asks whether the company tests the games on children or whether adults make all the decisions.

The second email is a formal reply from the Communications Manager at PEGI to Betty, which begins by saying that PEGI appreciates feedback. It explains why Fortnite has received its rating, assuring Betty that all video games are evaluated by both industry actors and PEGI. The message continues with information on PEGI, which is the recognized European video game content rating system.

Text 8: “How old is old enough? Legal age limits in English-speaking countries”

Text 8 is a table that lists the legal age limits for different activities in various English-speaking countries. The countries listed in the table are England, Scotland, Ireland, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India, Nigeria, and South Africa. The activities listed in the table are “To vote”, “To run for office”, “To drive”, “To join the military”, “To buy alcohol”, “To have criminal responsibility”, and “To work”.

Text 9 – Extract from the novel Slam by Nick Hornby (adapted)

The text begins with a brief summary explaining the story presented in the extract. Sam, a 16-year-old skater and student, who is expecting a baby with his girlfriend Alicia, tells his story.

In the first section, Sam says that it was his fault more than hers, because he didn’t tell Alicia that the condom had come off, so they did not use other forms of contraception afterwards.  

In the second section, Sam is skating when his mother appears, yelling at him for not having his mobile phone switched on while his girlfriend is pregnant. The mother then announces that Alicia is in labor. Sam hurries to Alicia’s house.

In the third section, Rufus, Sam’s child, is born and the next day Sam moves in with Alicia. He has never been away from home except on holidays, and he feels overwhelmed.

In the final section, we view a scene from Sam, Alicia and Rufus’ life together, a few days after Rufus’ birth. Sam changes the baby’s diaper and sings him to sleep. Sam thinks about how he and Alicia often fight, but also notes that the baby distracts them. He believes he is doing OK as a dad.

Later, Sam and Alicia argue. Alicia angrily accuses Sam of thinking only about himself, and argues that she also had plans for her own life which are now ruined. He replies that he knows she was going to have a life, as she had told him she wanted to be a model.

 

 

Task 1

Short answer

Answer either 1A or 1B.

1A

In text 7 of the preparation material you have read two emails: one from 11-year-old Betty to the Communications Manager of Pan European Game Information (PEGI) and the other, which is the Communications Manager’s reply to Betty. PEGI has been criticized for not listening or responding to the opinions of young people. You have been asked to help.

Write a short text to the Communications Manager giving her advice about how she should change her email to Betty. Refer to both the language and content of the emails in your advice.

1B

The text below was written by Aaron on the Quora website*, asking for advice about what to say to his friend.

Write a short reply to Aaron, giving advice about what he could say to his friend and how he should say it

Task 2

Long answer

The following tasks are based on your preparation topic “Old enough?” Answer either 2A, 2B, 2C, or 2D.

2A

Create a literary text about a young person who thinks that he or she is old enough. Your text must:

· be set in an English-speaking country

· explore ideas about being old enough in a particular situation

· mention one or more facts or opinions from the preparation material

· be titled “Old enough”

2B

Vocational students typically enter working life earlier than other young people. Some people argue that teenagers are not old enough to take on the responsibility of, for example, building someone’s bathroom, installing a company’s electrical wiring or looking after the welfare of somebody’s child or grandparent.

Create a text about whether or not teenagers are ready for the responsibilities of working life. In your text:

· briefly introduce the profession you have chosen to write about

· explain some of the responsibilities and challenges that young apprentices and workers have in this profession

· suggest what can be done at school and at work to help young people deal with these challenges and responsibilities

· discuss whether you think teenagers are ready for the responsibilities of the profession you have chosen

Texts 3, 4 and 6 in the preparation material may be useful for this task. Give your text a suitable title.

2C

In the preparation material you have read different opinions about being old enough to take on the responsibilities of, for example, driving, voting or working.

Create a text discussing how old is “old enough” for specific activities and responsibilities. Your text must:

· specify which activities you are writing about

· focus on one or more English-speaking countries

· discuss which age limit/s should apply and why

· use information from the preparation material

All of the texts in the preparation material may be useful for this task. Give your text a suitable title.

2D

In text 9 of the preparation material you have read about the challenges and responsibilities that Sam takes on as he becomes a teen father.

Create a text discussing a character who takes on responsibility at a young age. The character you discuss may be from the extract from Slam or from another text or film you have worked with during your course. In your text:

· introduce the character you are going to discuss

· explore the challenges that the character faces when taking on these responsibilities

· present and discuss the character’s thoughts and feelings while taking on this challenge or responsibility

· discuss how the text may affect readers’ understanding of what it means to be “old enough”

Give your text a suitable title.

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