Here is a letter expressing concern, opinion and advice. Please note its respectful tone and polite wording.

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Here is a letter expressing concern, opinion and advice. Please note its respectful tone and polite wording.

a) Write a letter in response stating your agreement or disagreement.


b) Using both the letter and the answer as a basis turn the contents into a dialogue and act it out in class:


Dear Helen,

I have just received your letter and I feel that I should let you know what I think of your plans for the future. I hope you won't take offence, but will accept what I say here as fatherly advice.

I was very surprised when I read in your letter that you had decided not to finish your studies at the University. I realize that Peter wants you to marry him this summer. But with only one year to go, you would be well advised to finish the course. A year is really a very short time, and later you will be glad you took my advice.

As you know, my reaction to Peter was extremely favour­able when I met him, he is an exceptionally fine young man and should make a good husband. But I urge you to complete your education first.

You are twenty-one and old enough to make up your own mind. This is something you'll have to work out for yourself. As your uncle, I have always tried not to interfere in your affairs and I don't intend to begin now. But, my dear, please, do con-


sider my words very carefully before you decide. Whatever you do, though, Ellen, you know I only want one thing for you, and that is your happiness.

Affectionately, uncle Tom


11. Pair work. Agree or disagree with the statements below. Be sure to provide sound arguments. Consider the following points and extend them whenever possible:


1. Children are not supposed to have their opinion, but if they do, the adults ignore them.

2. The difference between a child and an adult amounts to achieving the state of independence.

3. The most painful time is adolescence with intense feel­ings, lack of confidence and rebellion against authority.

4. The essence of happiness is complete freedom from care.

5. Most adults think of their childhood as being most happy time.


12. Group discussion. "New Prospects in Education". Here are a number of predictions which have been made by futurologlsts:


1. In his book Alvin Toggler Don't worry about parenthood! suggests that in the future We'll bring out your children there will be advertise- and make them into respon-ments like the one on the sible, successful adults. right. 1. Excellent food and education.

2. Just visit your children once

a week.

3. Minimum five-year contract.

Would you like your children to be brought up by profes­sional "parents"?

What would be some advantages and disadvantages?

2. Alvin Toggler also suggests that children won't go to school. They will study at home instead with video-tape, cassettes, other electronic aids.

Would you like this arrangement? What do you think of such "electronic cottage" school? Imagine what some of the consequences might be.


3. In what way, do you think, the advertisement above reflects the new trends in child rearing?



13. Below are some quotations dealing with family life and children. Illus­trate them with a short story:


1. When children are doing nothing they are doing mis­chief. (H. Fielding)

2. Teach your child to hold his tongue and he will learn to speak fast. (Benj. Franklin)

3. Anger is never without a reason, but seldom without a good one. (Benj. Franklin)

4. If children grew up according to early indications, we should have nothing but geniuses. (Goethe)

5. We are all geniuses up to the age of ten. (A. Huxley)

6. Children begin by loving parents, as they grow older they judge them, sometimes they forgive them. (O. Wilde)


Unit Six





By P. G.Aldrich


What do you remember most about your childhood? Run­ning through the long dewy grass of a meadow or the Saturday morning TV cartoons? Sitting in the kitchen watching your mother cook supper or sitting in the living-room watching Captain Kangaroo?1 Which came first on Sunday morning — breakfast or the comics?

Now bring your memories up to date. What did you and your friends talk about, at least part of the time, before class? An item from a newspaper? An ad that you noticed in a maga­zine or a television commercial? An episode from a popular TV series? A movie? Or a new record that you heard on the radio?

If your answers parallel those of most young people, you add to the proof that mass media play a large and influential



1Captain Kangaroo — a children's morning television programme.



part in your life. Your answers also prove just how casually you accept the media, just as you accept the house you live in, cars, electricity, telephones, your school, and your family as part of your environment. Parents and teachers agree that all young people growing up with the media learn from them sometimes more than adults wish you to. (And this is the cause for alarm.)

If the use of them referring to media in the last sentence seems strange, remember that the word media linguistically is plural. When people make a fuss about the media being a bad influence, they usually are talking about television, the most powerful medium of all. Maybe calling television the media can be justified technically because, as a medium, it embraces functions of several media such as newspapers, magazines, movies, and recordings.

The major media can be divided into two kinds, print and electronic. The print media — newspapers, magazines, books, pamphlets, catalogues, circulars, brochures, anything you read — are the oldest, dating back to the invention of the printing press in the fifteenth century. The electronic media — radio, television, films of all kinds, records, tapes, anything that is transmitted by the use of electricity — are less than a hundred years old.

One of the problems facing us today is being reached by the media when we really don't choose to be. Do you some­times find it difficult to locate a moment of complete silence in your environment or a time when your eyes are not presented with signs, billboard, or pictures demanding attention?

Another meaning the word mass suggests is "the people", a phrase too often associated with adjectives like dull-witted, credulous, ill-informed, uncritical, and passive. Or are the mass of people well-informed, sophisticated, thoughtful, and active? Which are you? How much of what you know about yourself has been taught you by the media? You may not realize how greatly the media influence you because in your lifetime they have always been there, hi fact, short of deliberate isolation on a mountain top or being lost in a forest and reared by wolves, no one will ever again grow up without the presence and influ­ence of the mass media.

Is this good or bad?

An experiment recently conducted in Europe by the Society for Rational Psychology showed that watching television is psy-



chologically addictive. The idea of becoming addicted to tele­vision brings up questions involving subtle conditioning and brainwashing that could be friendly or vicious, altruistic or self-serving.

In a commercial society the media's ability to stimulate motivation to buy — almost as though people were puppets on strings — builds other people's power. It can be power for good or power for bad, but it is always power for control.

All these negative aspects of growing up with the media need consideration, at the same time you are enjoying the posi­tive aspects of immediately knowing what's going on in the world, sharing great entertainment and historical events with everyone else in our "global village", and having the fun of try­ing out a new product that you wouldn't have known about without advertising.

According to a recent research report, more than a third of all children by the age of three are viewing TV with some regularity and more than half are listening to books read to them. Before they are old enough for school — a third of the children are looking through magazines, 40 percent are listen­ing to radio, and 80 percent are viewing television. At age sev­en, newspapers enter a child's life, usually through the comic strips. You are one of these children. As you grew, you absorbed uncritically, as children do.

And what did you absorb? Hundreds of items of informa­tion, most of them accurate as far as they went. Increasing so­phistication of taste and appreciation of technical skills. High standards of performance by talented musicians and actors that sometimes make your teachers despair of competing effectively for your attention.

With all this, you also absorbed ideas about behaviour, about right and wrong, good and bad, the permissible and the forbidden. These ideas were presented to you — and still are — directly and indirectly with the entertainment, advertis­ing, and information. The most powerful ideas are the ones you absorb indirectly. They are digested emotionally at psychologi­cal depths that we still know little about, although we can tell that the effect of reaching those depths is particularly strong and long lasting from behaviour patterns that emerge.

... Another indicating of media influence is in the language we use. Whole new vocabularies come into existence with new



inventions. Look back at the first two paragraphs of this chap­ter. How many expressions can you identify that came into popular usage with the development of a medium? How about TV cartoons? Or the abbreviated version of the word tele­vision? In this country, we say TV and spell it several different ways: tv, T.V., TV, teevee. In Britain, it's the telly, as everyone who watches the British "stand-up" comedian will know. That term, stand-up comic, seems to be another media invention. Actually, a comedian does sit sometimes, whenever the action of a skit demands, but there is always that string of jokes, or would-be jokes, delivered standing up, first at a stationary microphone during early radio days, now just standing or wan­dering about a stage, mike in hand. In advertising, the stand-up commercial was the first kind used, hi this, the announcer or star of the program would grasp the product firmly in hand, making sure the name faced the camera, and as persuasively as possible, recite or read the copy written about it at an adver­tising agency.

Words introduced in the media frequently enlarge into meanings far beyond the scope originally intended for them. How many meanings do the words Mickey Mouse have today? Which show approval? Which disapproval?

The impact of the mass media is very strong. It changes our language, stimulates our emotions, informs our intellect influ­ences our ideas, values, and attitudes. When you were young and absorbing uncritically, you could not possibly know that the majority of the material you saw and heard was designed to produce specific responses from you. Some adults, for that matter, either do not know or refuse to admit the following basic fact of media production: the MAJORITY of material is chosen or designed to produce a predetermined response. Even that part of media output called "entertainment" is chosen to keep you quiet, unquestioning, available, and receptive to com­mercial messages inserted throughout. This is evident whether the entertainment is a TV drama with commercials every few minutes or a newspaper or magazine article with columns of type wrapped around the advertisements.

The journalism, urgent issues, news, or information-giving portion of media output is selected, edited, produced, placed in time slots or positioned in the newspaper or magazine to reflect and support the owner's policies. These policies are sometimes intricate and interwoven strands, difficult to isolate individually,


because ownership is a giant conglomerate made up of inter­twining sections of the current commercial-military-governmental complex. However, no reporter, photographer, film or copy editor, script or continuity writer in either print or electronic media has ever needed to be told specifically what the boss's policies are. You pick them up through your pores within a week or two of accepting a job, and you work accordingly.

The owner's policies, therefore, determine the response that the media wish from you even if it's only to keep quiet and ac­cept. Then the material is written, staged, photographed with or without audio, printed and/or broadcast. We — counted in the millions, the mass audience of mass media —^are then pro­grammed to buy, vote, contribute, believe, and support other people's interests, interests which may be commercial, political, charitable, philosophical, or educational. Sometimes these in­terests will coincide with your own; sometimes they won't. Most of the time, the response comes in as programmed; occa­sionally it doesn't, or there is an additional, unexpected re­sponse. Some of the media's output has long lasting value and worth; some is not only cheap, tawdry, and superficial stuff, but physically, emotionally, and intellectually harmful.




1. What I really lackedwas experience.

What he suffered from was inferiority complex.


2. I will say this for Sue,she was a kind soul.

I will say this for Ann, she taught me a lot.


3. Little did she guess whathe had on his mind.

Little did they realize why he was being so nice to them.


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