Magazine article NATE Classroom

Investigating Spoken Language

Magazine article NATE Classroom

Investigating Spoken Language

Article excerpt

Investigating Spoken Language

English and Media Centre

EMC Resources for GCSE

DVD with 128-page wirobound, photocopiable book

95.00 [pounds sterling]


The introduction of 'Spoken Language Study' to GCSE English Language seems to have divided teachers. On the one hand, there are the enthusiasts: those already familiar with this area of study and comfortable with this type of investigative work, possibly through teaching English Language A Level, or from distant memories of teaching 'Knowledge About Language' under earlier versions of the English Orders. On the other hand, there are the less than enthusiastic: those who might feel that there is already enough content in the specifications without adding anything new; or possibly--and understandably--feeling a little insecure by this innovation after years of drilling students in the now familiar skills required to attain the gold standard of 'a C grade or better'.

However, it would be regrettable if such insecurity--or antipathy--propels any teacher (and consequently learner) towards those qualifications that do not require the study of spoken language because, as this new resource from the English and Media Centre makes clear, the study of spoken language is a potentially vibrant and fascinating area, one which gives back to teachers a real opportunity to revitalise their practice and re-engage their students.

Investigating Spoken Language is of that high quality characteristic of resources from the EMC. Those already acquainted with materials that EMC have produced in the past will know how their packs on aspects of media, language and literature study define the standard; and have often become the essential, authoritative resource on the topic under consideration. This is no exception. If you can afford just one resource to support your teaching of this area, buy this one. The pack consists of a book and a DVD; and the quantity and flexibility of the materials ensures that they can be easily adapted as the tasks and topics of the Spoken Language Study change. Indeed they have approached the subject in such a way as to equip teachers with the skills and knowledge needed to tackle spoken language study confidently now and into the future; rather than simply 'skill-up' teachers for the current set of tasks.

There are four sections to the pack. The first introduces key concepts; such as features of spoken language; context and formality; accent and dialect and so on. The teacher can select from this to provide useful preliminary grounding in some of the general concerns before moving into a specific topic area. The next section--the biggest section--gives various case studies, data banks and investigations; materials that are tailored to the requirements of particular awarding bodies.

There are video clips; transcripts and lots of teaching ideas to suggest ways through the materials. …

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