Topics to 2019
Using language to explore
As pointed out elsewhere (see About topics ), language is necessarily about something - and if we want our students to be concerned to handle English well, we would be well-advised to find material which is about the world in which they live, changing as it is more rapidly than at any previous point in history.
The Language B Subject Guide specifies what the English learned in an English B course should be about - through the concepts of Core topics and Option topics. The Core and Options are listed as follows :-
- three topics that have to be studied at both HL & SL :
Communication and media
- at both SL and HL, two of the following five alternatives have to be studied :
Customs and traditions
Science and technology
The headline page for each of the topics listed above contains a discussion of how the subject area may be approached in general. This involves debating what is involved in the definition of each term, thus leading to a listing of possible specific aspects which may be studied.
It is worth noting the following -
- from the section on Topics, under Syllabus Content (Subject Guide p.17) :
"At least two aspects must be covered in each of the five topics that make up the course." ... no definition is provided of the size, complexity or depth of an 'aspect', so make up your own mind, based on what is convenient, and suitable for your students.
- from the introduction to the Syllabus Outline (Subject Guide p.13) :
"While acquiring a language, students will explore the culture(s) connected to it. The focus of these courses is language acquisition and intercultural understanding."
- ... and from the section on Topics, under Syllabus Content (Subject Guide p.17) :
"The core and the options at both levels, as well as literature at HL, must be studied within the context of the culture(s) of the target language."
Evidently then, material used as the basis of teaching the various topics should be strongly related to Anglophone culture.
Most material presented here will be based on research on the internet. This is deliberate, because the internet ...
- provides a vast range of material, so topics can be viewed from many different angles
- makes available up-to-date material on issues of contemporary relevance
- encourages active student research, thus developing essential skills of enquiry, discrimination and selection
- should provide clues to developing systems of internet-based teaching
- ... and makes for a more vivid, varied, interactive website !
I am using my researches on the internet to develop procedures of research that can be used to guide students when they do the same kind of thing - certain pages explain and emphasise these techniques.