Topics to 2019

  • Permanently growing collection of materials to explore stimulating topics relevant to our students
  • The majority of the materials are drawn from the internet, for contemporary relevance and accessibility, and also in order to ...
  • ... develop and teach techniques for the methodical use of the internet
  • There is a main emphasis on the Core topics required by the new Language B Subject Guide ...
  • Communications & Media: particular emphasis on political, cultural and moral issues raised by the development of the internet
  • Global Issues: in-depth research and discussion of aspects of global development
  • Social relationships: novel approaches to commonly-discussed topics, from human rights to gender issues
  • The section on the Option topics is principally designed to provide introductory material, to aid teachers & students in the initial exploration of each topic
  • Printable versions of  materials for  use without internet connection in the classroom
  • Emphasis on combining the internet with many other forms of classroom activity

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

Global issues

Social relationships


- at both SL and HL, two of the following five alternatives have to be studied :

Cultural diversity

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.

Design factors

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.

Internet-based research

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. 

So, consult  Computer Verbs ; and also the page Internet tasks , for an overview of procedures for using the internet in the classroom.

Selected Pages

Sci & Tech, evaluated 1 November 2017

To be perfectly honest ... we language teachers, actually, are mostly rather ignorant about science and technology, aren't...

Science & technology 28 July 2017

Unlike the 'Health' and 'Leisure' Options, the Subject Guide explicitly states that this topic should be concerned with...

Leisure 28 July 2017

As with the 'Health' Option topic, the Subject Guide does not link the study of this subject area explicitly to "impact...

Health 28 July 2017

It is noticeable that the Subject Guide's brief summary of the 'Health' Option topic (p.20) does not include the instruction...

Customs & traditions 28 July 2017

This Option topic can be seen as overlapping significantly with the topic Cultural diversity, but of course it has a different...

Option topics 2 June 2017

The Option topics stipulated by the Subject Guide are, like the Core topics, pretty standard areas for the language teacher...

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