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  • Writer's picturelaurawippell

How to explore Mass Media Texts with your English B class (part 2)

When was the last time you asked your students what a mass media text is? Have you ever done so? While you may explore the English B text types as a list, breaking them down into personal, professional and mass media text types can help strengthen your students' conceptual understanding, especially in the areas of purpose and audience. 

Last month I explored four different mass media text types, and today I’m going to give you some ideas on how to explore the remaining half: interviews, opinion columns, reviews and speeches.

But first, in case you missed last month, here’s an overview of mass media texts, according to the English B guide:

Purpose: communicate a message about a particular subject/interest

Audience: large audience that have an interest that is connected to the producer of the text

Functions: project authority, desirability and exclusivity   


Register: varies

Tone: varies

Read on as I explore how to cover interviews, opinion columns, reviews and speeches.

1) Interviews

To be honest this was a text type I always skipped due to time constraints - there just isn’t enough time to cover the whole list! They can appear in Paper 1 though:  interviews were listed as an option for the November 2022 exam, albeit they were listed as generally inappropriate choices for responses. 

If you DO have time, teaching transcribed and embedded interviews could be done at the same time, but before I give you an idea on how to do that, here’s a quick overview of the difference between transcribed and embedded interviews:



Has a title

Has a title

Has a short introduction to introduce interviewee and explain context

More of an article structure, perhaps takes an ‘angle’ from the interview

Dialogue pattern - questions and answers are transcribed, or written verbatim. Don’t forget quotation marks and punctuation. 

The interview is referenced, either through direct quotations or reported speech

So how could you cover these at the same time in your English B classroom? Let’s go back to literature for inspiration, and have your students ‘interview’ one of the characters. They could either choose to write a transcribed or embedded interview, but would have to justify their choice, as in the suggestion I outlined for news reports and articles in last month’s blog post.

2) Opinion columns

Young adults tend to have a LOT of opinions, which is fantastic for this text type. There are a plethora of topics for which you can have your students write an opinion. One of my favourites is to choose an environmental issue as part of the ‘sharing the planet’ prescribed theme and get them to write an opinion column on that.

If you don’t have the time to do any planning, here’s a free resource that gives an overview of opinion columns, which forms part of a complete unit on social organisation - all your planning and resources sorted for three weeks!

3) Reviews

The most obvious activity to do here is get your students to review one of their favourite films.  Even better, watch a film in class and use it as a listening assessment, and then get your students to write a review.

If you want to mix things up you could get students to review one of their favourite songs/albums, restaurants or local attraction.  

I’m a big believer in hitting two birds with one stone. So why not prepare for Paper 1 while you are preparing for the Individual Oral? A great way to see how well students understood overall themes in the literature you are reading is to also get them to write a book review afterwards. 

If you’re wanting to see if your students can distinguish a review from the other text types, try this paper 1 practice based on ChatGPT - the correct choice of text type for task 3 is a review.

4) Speeches

I find it best to base speeches on a school context, as they are often framed in that way when they appear as a text type in Paper 1. So, in order to cover this text type, rather than focusing on global issues, look at what is in front of you and get students to write about an issue your school is currently facing.

If you don’t want to hear about school issues, why not take a break with Heath Ledger? I used to love showing my students the 2003 Ned Kelly film, as it explores immigration, prejudice and a man many people describe as the real-life ‘Robin Hood’ of Australian history. If you watch the film first, you can complete this Paper 1 practice, where a speech is the correct choice of text type for Task 3.

I hope you found these ideas useful. Don’t forget to check out the related blog posts below with more ideas on how to cover mass media and professional texts in your English B classroom. 


IBO (2019). Language B guide: First assessment 2020

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