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Teaching Linguistic Theory

Beth Kemp | Thursday July 07, 2011

Categories: Hot Entries, Writing, Linguistic Analysis, Teaching Ideas & Skills Development, Linguistics Theory & Study, Linguistic Theory, Using Theory

For teachers coming into Language as Literature specialists, teaching linguistic theory is perhaps the most alien aspect of the course.  It is often seen as the most factual aspect within English teaching at A Level, and is sometimes (frustratingly) viewed by students as the only thing they can revise, as they see it as more explicitly ‘content’ than other elements of the course.

This is a collection of suggestions for different ways of introducing theoretical and research-based content to students, as well as ways of developing familiarity with the necessary ideas, and developing students’ critical understanding.  Some of these ideas are also suitable for the revision period.  The guide on developing the skill of applying theory and context to texts will also have valuable ideas for this part of the course, and some of the ideas on teaching and revising terminology may also be adapted for theoretical and conceptual content, including research findings.

Introducing Linguistic Theory and Research Studies

Research and present

Resources required:

  • Topics / names / theories to allocate
  • Prompts or questions (optional)

This old standby is most effective when students are given clear and specific direction.

  • Students find out what they can about a particular theory or study before presenting those ideas to the class.
    • They may be allocated a particular theory, theorist or piece of research per group or pair to work on and report back.
    • Several individuals can be separately given the same theory to work on, with a second phase of comparing and refining their ideas before presenting.
    • The whole class may be working on the same theory, but with different aspects to research and prepare.
    • Students may be given prompts or questions to support their research.

Developing research skills is really important, and this task can be very useful for that.  This works best when clear guidelines for the resulting presentations are provided.  To really...


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