ABITURPRÜFUNG 2000                         Arbeitszeit: 180 Minuten
     als Grundkursfach

                              Textaufgabe I

                       DO PARENTS KNOW THEIR KIDS?
        Jocks1, preps2, punks, Goths3, geeks4.  They may sit at  separate 
     tables  in the cafeteria,  but  they all  belong to the same gener-
     ation.  There are now  31 million  kids  in the 12-to-19 age group, 
     and  demographers  predict  that there will be  35 million teens by 
 5   2010.  In many ways,  these teens are uniquely privileged.  They’ve 
     grown up  in a period of sustained  prosperity  and  haven’t had to 
     worry  about the draft5 (as their fathers did)  or global conflicts 
     (as their  grandparents did).  Cable  and the  Internet  have given 
     them  access to  an almost  infinite amount  of  information.  Most 
10   expect to go to college, and girls,  in particular,  have unpreced-
     ented opportunities;  they can dream of careers  in everything from 
     professional sports to politics,  with plenty of female role models 
     to follow.
        But this  positive image  of American  adolescence  in 1999 is a 
15   little  like yearbook  photos that  depict  every kid  as happy and 
     blamishfree.  After  the  Littleton,  Colo.,  tragedy6,  it’s clear 
     there’s  another  dimension  to this picture,  and  it’s  far  more 
     troubled.  In survey after survey, many kids say they feel increas- 
     ingly alone and alienated,  unable  to connect  with their parents, 
20   teachers  and sometimes  even  classmates.  They’re  desperate  for 
     guidance,  and  when they don’t get  what they need  at home  or in 
     school they cling to  cliques  or immerse themselves in  a universe 
     out of their parents’ reach,  a world defined by computer games, TV 
     and movies, where brutality is so common it has become mundane.
25      Many teens say  they feel overwhelmed by pressure  and responsi- 
     bilities.  They are juggling part-time jobs  and hours of  homework 
     every night;  sometimes they’re so exhausted  that  they are nearly 
     asleep in  early-morning  classes.  Half have  lived through  their 
     parents’ divorce.  Sixty-three percent are in households where both 
30   parents  work  outside the home,  and many look after  younger sib-
     lings in the afternoon.  Still others are home by themselves  after 
     school.  That unwelcome solitude can extend well  into the evening;

                                                        PLEASE TURN OVER

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     mealtime for this generation too often begins with a  forlorn touch 
     of the microwave.
35      In fact, of all the issues that trouble adolescents,  loneliness 
     ranks at the top of the list.  Teenagers may claim  they want priv- 
     acy,  but they also crave  and  need attention  –  and they’re  not 
     getting it.
        Loneliness creates  an  emotional  vacuum  that  is filled by an 
40   intense  peer  culture,  a critical buffer  against  kids’ fear  of 
     isolation.  Some of this bonding  is  normal  and  appropriate;  in 
     fact,  studies have shown that the human need for acceptance is al-
     most a biological drive,  like hunger.  It’s especially  intense in 
     early  adolescence,  from  about 12 to 14,  a time of  "hyper self-
45   consciousness," says David Elkind,  a professor  of child  develop- 
     ment  at  Tufts University.  "They become  very  self-centered  and 
     spend  a lot of  time  thinking  about what  others think of them," 
     Elkind says.  "And when they think about  what others are thinking, 
     they  make the error of thinking  that everyone is  thinking  about 
50   them."  Dressing alike is a refuge,  a way of hiding  in the group. 
     When they’re 3 and scared,  they cling to a security blanket7; at 
     16, they want body piercings or Abercrombie8 shirts.
        If parents  and other adults  abdicate power,  teenagers come up 
     with their own rules.  Bullying has become so extreme and so common 
55   that many teens just accept it as part of  high school life  in the 
     ‘90s.  Emory University  psychologist  Marshall Duke,  an expert on 
     children’s friendships,  recently asked 110 students  in one of his 
     classes if any of them had ever been threatened in high school.  To 
     his surprise, "they all raised their hand."
60      Even the best, most caring parents can’t protect their teenagers 
     from  all problems,  but involved parents can make an enormous dif-
     ference.  Kids do listen.  Seize any opportunity to talk  –  in the 
     car,  over the breakfast table,  watching TV.  Parents have to work 
     harder  to get their points  across.  Ellen Galinsky,  president of
65   the Families  and Work Institute,  has studied  teenagers’ views of 
     parents.  "One 16-year-old told us, ‘I am proud of the fact that my 
     mother deals  with me even  though  I try  to push her away.  She’s 
     still there`." So pay attention now. The kids can’t wait.

                                             From: NEWSWEEK, 10 May 1999

     1 jocks (AmE infml): athletes, especially ones with few other inter-
     2 preps (AmE infml): here: rich young people,  noticeable for  their 
       expensive clothes
     3 Goths: young people who like Gothic music  (dark metal music about 
       death  and evil)  and  cultivate  a certain style:  body piercing, 
       black clothes and lipstick, white make-up  				
     4 geeks (AmE infml): boring people, dressed unfashionably 
     5 draft (AmE): obligatory  military  service;  in the 60s/70s,  this 
       meant being sent to fight in the Vietnam war 
     6 the Littleton, Colo., tragedy: massacre at a Colorado high school,  
       where on April 20, 1999,  two boys killed twelve fellow pupils and 
       a teacher, injured many more, then killed themselves
     7 security blanket: soft blanket or toy that little children like to 
       hold to comfort themselves 
     8 Abercrombie: an expensive, trendy brand of clothes 


WORKSHEET: Do Parents Know Their Kids?

                                                        maximum number of 
                                                        points attainable 
  I. Questions on the text

     Read all the questions first, then answer them
     in the given order.
     Use your own words as far as is appropriate.

     1. In what way are today’s teenagers a "uniquely privileged"      10
        (l. 5) generation?

     2. Outline the various problems young people are confronted with. 20

     3. How do adolescents react to their sense of isolation?          20
        What psychological explanations are given in the text?

     4. What does the text say about the extent and the causes of      10  
        bullying at American high schools?
     5. What is the writer’s message to parents?                       10   
     6. Show that the writer uses a variety of means to make his text  10 
        interesting and convincing.


 II. Composition                                                       40 

     Choose  o n e  of the following topics.
     Write about 120 to 150 words.

     1. The "infinite amount of information" provided by cable TV 
        and the Internet - a blessing or a curse?

     2. Raising and teaching teens - not an easy job these days?

III. Translation                                                       40 

     Translate the following text into German:     


                                                         PLEASE TURN OVER

          What is most  bizarre about America’s spate of school shootings 
       is not that  they  have occurred,  but America’s reaction to them: 
       plenty of  public hand-wringing  about moral decay  and media vio-
       lence. Inevitably, there have been further calls to beef up secur-
       ity at schools.
          But these are  all side issues,  which have  nothing to do with 
       what really  distinguishes  America  from  other countries.  Young 
       people  everywhere,  like many of their elders,  have violent fan- 
       tasies.  If America is in moral decline,  then so  is most of  the 
       rest of the world, which just as avidly consumes violent films and 
       rock videos. Mentally disturbed people anywhere can sometimes pose 
       a threat to others.  And all schools,  not just those  in America, 
       remain vulnerable to someone looking for innocent victims. But, of 
       all  rich countries,  only America makes it  possible for  teenage 
       misfits,  the insane or anyone else  determined to cause mayhem to 
       get their hands so easily on such a terrifying array of weapons.

                                       From: The Economist, 24 April 1999