Say it with flair

16th February 1996 at 00:00
ENGLISH, SPEAKING AND LISTENING. (For the Revised National Curriculum) By Gordon Lamont.

John Murray Pounds 12.99

Here is a book, aimed at key stages 1 and 2, which could well prove useful to any primary school. There is a specified view of language performance in the revised national curriculum and, whatever the motivation behind it, it should be seen as an opportunity to create a new interest in language policies and not just for OFSTED. This is especially important in the primary school and it is here that the strength of this publication lies.

Gordon Lamont was a drama teacher and is now a BBC Schools Radio producer, an interesting background for the writing of such a book. He has tried to produce a practical book, with a succinct theoretical rationale to hold everything together. He is very concerned with language policies: part of the introduction consists of an extended role play for a staff meeting formulating such a policy and planning the document. In these days of limited advisory help for non-specialists, this could be like manna. I found it enlightening and sometimes even funny.

The bulk of the book consists of 17 practical speaking and listening activities: six each for years 12 and 56 and five for years 34. Each is carefully planned but with scope for teacher interpretation and mediation.

There are story-telling, poetry, puppet plays, news bulletins, class sharing of experiences liberating, ex-pansive exercises, all with detailed suggestions about presentation and classroom management and comprehensive advice on assessment. Given the author's background, one cannot be surprised that the last section is a guide to using BBC Radio programmes.

This book may not be the last word for the experienced practioner, but for harassed staff asking "Where do we start?" it could be a godsend.

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