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The Best Videos Documenting The History Of The English Language

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'McGuffey Reader illustration n.d.' photo (c) 2009, Miami University Libraries - Digital Collections - license:

There are quite a number of decent videos documenting the history of the English language, and I’m trying to figure out how to use them in my IB Theory of Knowledge class. Ideas are welcome.

Here are the videos I know about:

The Story Of English is a nine-part television series, and I’ve embedded the entire playlist below:

How did English evolve? is from TED-Ed. I’ve embedded the video below, and you can see the entire lesson here.

Here’s an “oldie” from The British Council:

Get the Embed Code to Add This Infographic to Your Site.
‘The History of the English Language’ courtesy of Brighton School of Business and Management.

11 places to visit on a tour of the English language is from The Week.

Where did English come from? is the title of a neat new lesson and video from TED-Ed:

TED-Ed has published this lesson and video. I’m adding it to:

Let me know what I’m missing….

Author: Larry Ferlazzo

I'm a high school teacher in Sacramento, CA.

One Comment

  1. Great post! I’ve used “The Advent of English”, a British television series (ITV) presented by Melvyn Bragg. It’s an 8-part documentary.

    I’m an English teacher with a limited knowledge of the TOK course, so my suggestion might not be suitable for you, but it is based on a language unit I taught to my Diploma class called “The Evolution of English”

    Why don’t you team up with your English department if they teach the IB Language and Literature programme? The texts for the Paper 1 exam are usually taken from an English-speaking country around the world, and so it’s important for IB students (being Global Citizens) to understand the culture and colloquial expressions of different English-speaking countries, as they might be exposed to these in the exam (e.g. American English and expressions, formal/ “colonial” Indian English, slang-filled Australian English, etc.). The English department could do a Further Oral Activity as an assessment based on this unit.

    I’ll definitely be contacting my TOK department to see if we can collaborate. Can you explain how this can be used in TOK so that I have a better understanding, please? Thanks!

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