History

3rd November 2000 at 00:00
TALKING HEADS. Chrome Dreams. pound;6.99. Tel: 0208 715 9781

www.chromedreams.co.uk This is a fascinating idea: a slickly packaged audio CD with 16 seminal speeches from history. The rationale for the selection reads: "So, unashamedly, we present here 16 of the most fascinating recorded clips we could find."

The promise of the 16-page booklet with explanatory notes flatters to deceive, as it tells us little more than the notes on each track. On the other hand, the background music will make each speech interesting and appealing to most young people in the classroom.

There is an effective use of simultaneous translation of one of Hitler's speeches, but for me John F Kennedy and Malcolm X stea the show.

The home audience is clearly the target, with the Neil Armstrong Moon landing speech and a strong representation for the royal family.

There are no formal teaching materials. This is primarily a resource that could be used to add atmosphere to classrooms or even parents' evenings. Students might also use it to enhance their presentations.

A final point in the accompanying notes is that any tremor, hesitation or pause in a speech can be telling, and would never appear on a written transcription. Are we entering a new world of primary source analysis as well as technology?

Ben Walsh Ben Walsh is a history teacher, author and consultant on history ICT education


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