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Annotated Bibliography Series Number 1


Using the British Studies Resource Points

The following books and audio-visual materials should be available at most British Studies Resource Points. They are only a sample for you to look at and try. The bibliography will start with some of the easier materials and move onto more advanced ones hence the bibliography is not in the usual alphabetical order.

If you have any useful comments to make about books and audio- visual materials you use that you would like to share, please send them to us at elt@.britcoun.org.pl so we can add them to our forthcoming editions.


As the bibliography starts with some of the materials suitable for schools before moving onto more academic ones it is not in the usual alphabetical order.

Sheerin, S. et. al. ‘Spotlight on Britain’ (2nd ed.) (1995) Oxford University Press, Oxford. ‘The Education System’, pp. 131-135

This is quite a brief and relatively simple text but informative with some useful ‘talking points’ and examples given. Contains attractive photographs and illustrations. Suitable for those with limited English.

Lavery, C. ‘Focus on Britain Today’ (1995) Phoenix, Hemel Hempstead, Ch. 11. ‘The British Education System’, pp. 82-89

Award-winning book. Simplified figures and tables, which are easy to read at a glance with good photographs and key questions as well as definitions given. Gap fills and group/pair work suggestions. Covers nursery to university education. Very well laid out and presented. Even those at a higher level will find some useful statistics presented in an easy to understand format. Good for lesson plans and can be used as a set text. English level basic to intermediate.

McLean, A. ‘Profile UK’, (1993) Heinemann, Oxford. ‘Class Struggle’, pp. 42-45

A colourful, fairly easy to use, relatively simple text on educational facts and issues. Plenty of illustrations and extracts from newspapers to offer authentic material and information on contemporary education. Contains discussion points and also suggestions for project work. Suitable for secondary students and relatively inexperienced English users at tertiary level.

McDowall, D. ‘Britain in Close-up’ (1997) Longman, Harlow, Chapter 11 ‘Educating the Nation’, pp. 147-158

Comprehensive coverage of most sectors of education although nothing on nursery education. Quite densely packed pages of text clearly aimed at a higher level than Lavery and Mclean. Contains commentary and opinion as well as factual information. Has about one photo per page. Final section focuses on analysis and discussion of the information presented with questions. Suitable as a set text for more proficient English language users.

Essential Articles 4: the Resource File for Issues. (1996) Carel Press, Carlisle. ‘Education’, pp. 105-111

A number of selected articles from the British press (1995/96) on educational issues that can be valuable additional focus material as well as the basis of discussion work and writing. They can supplement the more factual information on education. Articles are from tabloid and quality press, with editorials, features and letters to the editor. Good authentic materials but as with all press articles, they can date. Essential Articles is therefore updated every two years.

Dyson, A. ‘Britain in View’, (1994) British Council/Oxford University, London. Accompanying book to Video Series.  Section 3. Education, pp. 23-30

This is an excellent example of how to bring together video and written materials in the British Studies classroom. It includes authentic materials, language from the television and press, neatly packaged into a series. The Videos are of 15 clips from the BBC’s ‘Newsroom South East’ archives from the early 1990s. Education is one issue discussed through 2 main news items: ‘Indian Pupils Come Top’ and ‘Teacher Stress’. There is a third section in the chapter devoted to British Studies, focusing on problems for teachers in Britain. The chapter contains background to the subject, an introduction to the video clips, ways of exploiting the texts, supporting press articles and language focus as well as suggestions for classroom activities. Teachers can find further help at the start of the book. This section cross-references ethnicity in Britain as well as media. There are also tables, charts and suggested project activities. Suitable for use with intermediate or fairly competent English users. 

Social Trends 27, (1997) Office for National Statistics, The Stationery Office, London ‘Education’, section 3, pp. 55-69

A variety of statistical tables on various aspects of education such as exam results, school pupils and staffing, curriculum, post compulsory education, adult training and education, educational expenditure and so on. Most are divided into sub-categories such as gender differences. The tables are broken up and made more digestible by commentary on various aspects of the education system. A very good resource book for teachers and students. Some of the tables could be used as input texts for students to analyse/describe as well as the basis for discussion. Shows, as title indicates, the trends in education. This is a book for teachers, students with good command of English and some ability to read statistical tables.

Britain 1997: an Official Handbook, (1996) Central Office of Information, London. Chapter on ‘Social and Cultural Affairs’, section 27 Education, pp. 442-465

A wealth of factual information presented in an objective, no-nonsense dry manner as befits a government publication. Sections on History, Administration, Schools, Education and training after 16, Special Education, Links with other countries and the Youth Service. Clearly presented with relevant statistics. Lacking in analysis and commentary but this is not a problem: presention of the main facts and trends is the aim of this official publication. Includes information on teachers and teacher training, the contents of the national curriculum and overseas students in Britain. Useful reference book for teachers covering ‘British Life and Institutions’ and other British Studies courses.

Hudson, R. & Williams, A. ‘Divided Britain’ (1995 2nd Edition) Wiley, Chichester. Chapter 4.2. ‘Class and Education’ pp. 99-106

A discussion of the continued links in Britain between social class and education, and how the inequalities seem to persist from generation to generation. Takes a sociological/ political sociological perspective with useful references to key works in this field and further reading. Discusses and analyses the concept of ‘equality of opportunity’ and how this can be realised by governments in the modern age. Presents some tables of statistics, opinion poll information and trends.Useful material for advanced learners with a special interest in education, education and class and key thinkers in the field.

Abercrombie, N.  & Warde, N. et al. ‘Contemporary British Society’ (1996) Polity, Oxford. Chapter 8, ‘Education’ pp. 342-378

This offers a general review of the different perspectives and themes within the sociology of education with reference to key theories, theorists and research within the field. Contains discussion and analysis of education and its ideological functions in different societies. Looks at education reforms, curriculum and hidden curriculum and the links between education and class, gender and race. Contains useful facts and figures, some displayed in tables, charts and graphs which could be used as input text. Explanations of some key sociological terminology given. A book for those interested in sociological perspectives on education, and for research and reference. Could be used as a text with advanced learners at university level.

Lee McKay,  S. &. Hornberger, N. H (eds) (1996) ‘Sociolinguistics and Language Teaching’ Cambridge University Press (Applied Linguistics), Cambridge. Chapter 14 ‘Language and Education’ by N. H. Hornberger, pp. 449-473

Very specialised, sophisticated sociolinguistics chapter. This is not a book specifically about Britain but has takes an international perspective on language comparing different cultures and the linguistic patterns within them. Some useful ideas and research themes for specialist interests in cross-cultural language and education, ethnography and ethnographic sociolinguistics research.


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