KS3 & GCSE English – cover sports commentary in spoken language

If you’re looking for opportunities to give your Key Stage 3 classes an accessible and relevant taste of what’s to come in the spoken language element of the GCSE, what better way to do that than to tap into the verbal dexterities (and gaffes) of our sports commentators.

Sports commentary is a mine of verbal treasures: passionate rhetoric; over-the-top exaltations; apt and often extraordinary analogies; sensitive (and insensitive) litotes; dramatic repetitions. And then there are the biased jibes and jokes. Analysing how commentators comment on the action, which unfolds in front of them, could prove to be as unpredictable as the events themselves!

As we come up to summer there’s a few games left of the football season to examine, or you could look to spot commentator bias in Champions League games containing English teams and then there’s the prospect of Wimbledon and the chance to compare McEnroe’s style of commentary with Becker’s. I will be investigating the ladies’ and men’s matches to find out if gender-bias still exists. The possibilities are endless.

All of these plans rely upon me having to have no specialist sports’ knowledge at all. But hopefully I can play swapsies with my students: they educate me about sport; I educate them about English Language. That seems like fair play to me.

Naomi Hursthouse
Advance Skills Teacher

Steyning Grammar School

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