Teachers' notes

The history of the English language is a tale of many voices. To understand the rich and diverse history of the language we need to look at all sorts of texts. To focus solely on literature would be to miss the many social, cultural and historical strands from which our language is woven.

Texts in Context brings together hundreds of fascinating everyday texts, enabling readers to explore some of the diverse contexts in which our complex language is used, produced and changed.

Aimed primarily at Key stage 3 and AS/A2 level, the main objectives of the project are to help students:

  • Develop skills in critical thinking.
  • Develop an investigative approach to diverse source material, and an ability to extract relevant information about the way language is produced and used in different contexts.
  • Develop research skills and the ability to conduct independent enquiry, in particular in working with older texts in their original presentation.
  • Have opportunities to make a creative response to learning.

The project should help students ask the following questions:

  • How do you question a text?
  • How do texts encourage or discourage questions?
  • What role does the 'context' of the item have in your understanding?
  • How does that context change?
  • How does the context of the reader influence the meaning of the text?
  • What are the best ways to answer these questions?

New - Texts in Context Playing cards.

These downloadable, printable A5 Texts in Context cards showing excerpts from varied texts and genres over time. These cards are on a physical scale that allows a display of language change over time using a timeline on classroom wall (or the creation of an electronic timeline on a computer screen or whiteboard). This allows students to make connections between language change, situational variation and genre, and to immerse themselves in a richly exemplified textual environment.

This resource supports language development and historical language change, teaching about genre and the development of genre over time, language investigation projects and original writing. You can download teaching resources to use with the cards on the Teachit website .

Click on the links below to download:

Landmark Texts (high res)

Landmark Texts (low res)

Adverts (high res)

Adverts (low res)

Miscellaneous (high res)

Miscellaneous (low res)

Recipes (high res)

Recipes (low res)

Dictionaries (high res)

Dictionaries (low res)

Background, advice, ideas, case studies and practical support for teachers.

The following PDFs provide support for teachers of English Language who are interested in working with facsimile texts. They specifically address teaching and learning in Key Stages 3 and 5 (Advanced Level) but the ideas and approach can be adapted for Key Stages 2 and 4.

It is based on the experiences, over two years, of teachers and students who worked with the Texts in Context project.

Working with the Texts (pdf)

This section includes practical support for incorporating the texts into your work with students. As well as general advice on using the materials there are specific suggestions for what you could do in KS3, AS and A2 courses. These include lesson outlines and plans as well as supporting materials. The section also contains suggestions for working with museums and archives, and sources of additional resources and support.

Background to the Texts (pdf)

This section explains how the texts were selected and what they have to offer generally and specifically. All texts are listed with a commentary on their potential for teaching and learning. There is advice on how to find and select texts to work with.

Texts in Context Credits

Researcher and writer - Anna Lobbenberg

Consultants - Tim Shortis and Pat Triggs