The new way to avoid checking your emails every ten minutes...

Welcome to my blog! On it I'm going to post all the things we cover in class (handouts, youtube vids, useful stuff in the library, revision notes....) so it'll be in one easy to find spot. If you want to ask me anything direct (and that incluldes you, parents) then don't bother emailing me at my gmail address, but do drop me a line at my school address.

Monday 22 July 2013

Summer Jobs

Afternoon all! I've had a few emails from people telling me they won't be in a particular lesson for a particular reason and so forth, so I though it would be a lot easier to simply post here the jobs that I want you to get on with; if you get them done in lesson time then fantastic, if not, then complete them over the summer. First of all, you need to watch the remainder of the episodes of 'The Adventure of English'. Most of you will have done the first two, so the others over 6 weeks isn't too much of a hardship. If you look to the right, you'll see I've listed the episodes in order.

After that, have a listen to this - Professor Jean Aitcheson delivered a few lectures a while ago that explain some of the attitudes to language change much better than I ever could. Make notes on the 'Web of Worries', and have a listen to some of the others if you can't face any more Jeremy Kyle / Cash in the Attic etc etc.
Any problems or questions, drop me a line.
Have a good summer!

EDIT - The link to the coursebook is here - I personally recommend the second hand option - whoever gets the cheapest option (and can prove it) wins a bag of Minstrels.

Monday 15 July 2013

New 13s? Step this way...

It was lovely to meet you all this week, and I'm sure we'll have a riot over the next academic year. This blog is a way for me to sum up what we've done weekly, along with provide electronic copies of handouts, slides, and links to people who know far more about English then I ever could.
So, to sum up this week: We've looked at two of the fundamental principles that I think underpin this course. Firstly, the idea of hierarchies: society is obsessed with putting people into hierarchies, and we see this pattern everywhere in the course. In the extract we looked at it was easy to classify various concepts into either good or bad. Things get a little more nuanced later on, but this is a simple enough place to start.
Secondly, we looked at the model that suggests pressures along the continuum.. Any use of language will be somewhere along the line, and if you can identify and comment on the pressures that act upon that level of formality, then you'll find this course a breeze.
In terms of language variation, we had a brief look at Rastamouse, as it provides us with a neat snapshot into just how angry some people can get about 'other' varieties of English, particularly where children are involved. We'll develop this a lot more later on, but for now, it's worthwhile understanding that there are lots of different attitudes to language change and variation, not all of them good.
Finally, I introduced you to Melvyn Bragg's 'The Adventure of English'. I know it's a tiny bit dry at times, but it does provide a really useful foundation for some of the stuff that we'll see later on. We'll aim to have the first two episodes done and dusted by the end of the week. Click here for episode 1, and here for episode 2.
In the meantime, if you've any problems or questions, then drop me a line at my school account. Don't bother with the Gmail one as that one never gets checked.