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  • Writer's picturelaurawippell

How to explore Mass Media Texts with your English B class (part 1)

Mass Media texts are becoming more and more common with the rise of the online influencer. Your English B students need to know how to create them as they do appear in Paper 1.



In this blog post I’ll be exploring ways of covering mass media texts in your classroom for English B.  Please note that AB initio has a slightly different set of mass media texts -  I’m covering mass media posts that are set to appear in English B HL Paper 1.


First of all, what are they?


According to the Language B guide (IBO, 2019), here's a quick breakdown of mass media texts:


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 articles, news reports, blogs, brochures, leaflets and pamphlets as mass media texts.


1) Articles (newspaper, magazine) and 2) News reports


Being completely honest, these are two text types I dreaded covering as they can be quite similar. 


After trial and error, I feel (and this is just my opinion) the best way to cover these is to teach them simultaneously, and set an assessment task where students choose either to answer in the format of an article OR news report, but they must JUSTIFY their choice - which means you can evaluate their conceptual understanding of the text type.


Here’s a quick overview of the differences between the two:


Article

News Report

Type of Text

Mass media.

Mass media.

Purpose

To inform and report. Depending on where it is published and context, it could also be to discuss or explore.

To inform. 


Audience

Large, often loosely defined audience. E.g. in Paper 1 they might ask you to write an article for a school magazine.

Large and generally defined by level of education, socio-economic status etc.


Functions

Articles usually take an angle on an event/idea/issue etc, but a clear and direct opinion is not always explicitly shown like it would be in opinion columns.

Report the key facts in a clear and concise way.

Register

Semi-formal to formal. 

Semi-formal to formal register.

Tone

Varies depending on context.

Impersonal, factual, objective etc.

If you’re looking for a quick activity to see if your students understand the difference between news reports and articles, try this analysis activity, which uses authentic texts as examples.


3) Blogs


According to the English B guide, blogs are considered to be personal, professional AND mass media texts.  So don’t waste your precious time by covering them three times over - once is more than enough!  Check out this blog post on personal texts, where I covered ways of teaching blogs which can be easily incorporated into your classroom.


4) Brochures, Leaflets and Pamphlets


I’ve read some criticism that brochures, leaflets and pamphlets are archaic in our digital world and should not be included in the English B text types list. What do you think? You can read my thoughts in this blog post.


I personally believe that these texts are a great way to get students to share information on an issue they are passionate about - they are a creative way for them to communicate. Just like articles and news reports, I recommend teaching brochures, leaflets and pamphlets simultaneously as they are too similar to be covered separately. Here’s an activity which gives an overview of brochures, leaflets and pamphlets, explains their differences and gives students an assessment task about the global issue of sinking cities (rubrics included).


Another reason why I like brochures, leaflets and pamphlets is because they are great texts to cover at the end of the year when you are all feeling a bit tired and fed up. Students can exercise some of their creativity and design skills by adding infographics and playing with headings in this text type, so it’s a nice break from just putting pen to paper, or fingers to keyboard.  Give your students a break from their screens and get them folding some cardboard!



I hope you found these examples helpful, but they aren’t the only ones! In next month’s blog post I’ll explore the remaining mass media texts of interviews, opinion columns, reviews and speeches. See you then!


Sources:

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

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2 Comments


Fadwa Ben T
Fadwa Ben T
Jun 12

What about official exams ?I mean when it comes to brochures ,leaflets and pamphlets design is not graded.i find it confusing !how should students prensent these in exams?

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laurawippell
laurawippell
Jun 13
Replying to

Hi Fadwa, exactly - in Paper 1 design is not graded, so as always it's just Language, Message & Conceptual Understanding you need to be focusing on. I was suggesting having fun with design though as an end of year activity. When everyone is tired and you've done a lot of Paper 1 practice, why not let students have a bit of fun with designing on some paper?

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