A Level English Language Conference Goes Above & Beyond
By Miss Holmes, English Teacher
NHEHS hosted an English Language and Linguistics Conference on 26th January, exploring a range of subjects that went beyond the A Level Curriculum and gave pupils a flavour of current research in the field.
Our sixth form students were joined by pupils from William Perkins, Cardinal Wiseman and Godophin and Laytmer to hear from two leading academics: Dr Rebecca Woods from Newcastle University and Dr Ruth Page from Birmingham University.
Dr Woods explored the miracle of how children learn complex linguistic structures at a very young age, particularly the grammar needed to form questions. She then shared some of the latest data and findings of her own research, which analyses the impact of a caregiver’s grammar on children’s speech and how syntactical structuring can influence children’s subconscious linguistic rule-making.
Dr Page, also pushed our pupils’ thinking into a new direction, this time by exploring the composition of narratives on social media, and what we can learn from narrative theorists such as Labov and Georgakopoulou when exploring storytelling on TikTok. Again, in sharing her latest research, students were encouraged to reflect on how this popular platform encourages distributed linearity, intertextuality and co-tellership and how these narratives are then monetised.
Pupils also took part in an ‘anatomy of an experiment’, where they participated in a study designed by Newcastle University and The University of Edinburgh, before going ‘behind the scenes’ to explore what the researchers were trying to find out and how they go about collecting large data-sets for analysis.
Following the conference, Dr Woods also gave a lecture to students from across our sixth form about cognitive linguistics, our human ability to create languages and how an understanding of linguistics can help drive research and understanding in other fields such as Biology, Philosophy, Religion and Ethics, Computer Science, Psychology and more.
The conference received excellent feedback from staff and students alike, with one teacher from one of our invited schools commenting “We all found the conference fascinating – really stimulating and a helpful spread of talks. Thank you for all your organisation and for inviting us!”
A big thank you to Dr Woods and Dr Page for coming to NHEHS and giving such interesting and informative talks.Back to news