Note on recordings: Most of these tapes were found on dumped language lab machines (student positions). These tapes were not usually changed until they wore out or broke, hence the varied content: different languages / lesson fragments may appear on the same tape. Brief audio clips are given below. Where possible, the master and student tracks have been placed on left and right channels respectively.
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TAPE: Quarter inch open reel
RECORDING EQUIPMENT: Tandberg IS6 language lab, series 5000 recorders, speed: 3 3/4 IPS, half track, 2 channel. Approximate dates of recordings: Between 1975 and 1990. Acquired: Wirral, 1991
Tape N1: Assorted dreadful attempts at French. Starts with conversation practice (“…Excuse me, ma- ma- madame…” )/ Scouse French (vocab/pronunciation exercise). Estimated date of recordings: 1978
Tape N2: French. Starts with a bit of aggro. Main recording shows influence of communicative approach and shift to notional /functional syllabus. Including some fairly successful (teacher-student) role plays, ‘at the doctor’s’ . “…pas de musique pop sur le walk-man!” . Evidence of later student overdubbing and independent work. Estimated date of recordings: 1989
Tape N3: Lab operation demostrated briefly. Then some notional/functional dialogues in French, as in Tape N2. Date of recordings – 1990.
Tape N4: French. Side 1 : Some rather shaky situational/notional functional style roleplays not dissmilar to Tapes N2 N3. Evidence of later student overdubbing and independent work. Side 2: Probably the worst oral work you’ll ever hear. Date of recordings: 1990
Tape 5: Mostly GCSE level french. Lesson is a strange hybrid: content reflects the notional functional approach, yet is taught using a teacher-centric, habit-acquisition audiolingual method. No evidence of later reviewing/replaying/re-recording of work by student. Includes the dangerous role play prompt ‘Say you like French…’! Ends with ‘field recording’ of decks rewinding and shutting off. Estimated date of recordings: 1989
Tape N6: More French, description as Tapes N2 N3 N4: some (less successful) role plays and someone who ‘never listens’. Date of recordings: 1990
Tape N7: French. The whole tape consists of lessons as described in Tape 5, but initially dogged by technical problems “…There’s too many not working…!” Estimated date of recordings: 1988
Tape N8: French. Part 1: Individual student-led dictation of what seems to be fairly typical GCSE notional/functional dialogues as an exercise in accuracy. Teacher intervenes for correction only, does not lead the session in the traditional sense. Evidence of later student reviewing/re-recording. Estimated date of recording: 1989 Part 2: Audiolingualism, long sessions of dialogues and drills, acqusition by habit formation and ‘écoutez et répétez’. This is probably at the expense of analysis or ‘meaningful’ communication; the students’ responses seem to merely mimic certain sounds of the master tape. What few productive skills are in evidence here are very weak. Estimated date of recording: 1978
Tape N9: Part 1
: French. More audiolingualism with rigid Q&A exercises based on texts. The next segment has a similar Q&A comprehension exercise but ad-hoc, teacher- led wholly in English – as on tapes 8, 11. From there there is some more ad-hoc work on tense shifting from présent
to passé composé
of irregular verbs, along with some ‘sponaneous translation’ overdubbed on the student track! Estimated date of recordings : 1980.
Tape N11: Side 1
: French. “Lean right forward, I’ve put you on record already”. This content mostly shows influence of Audiolingualism, as tape 8. There is also some much older teaching methodology at work later in the piece – going between first and second languages, reminiscent of the ‘grammar-translation’ teaching approach. Side 2
: German. Pure audiolingualism, some rather scary rigid grammar drilling and learning by rote. Estimated date of recordings: 1981.
: Basic level French (prepositions of place); then a GCSE level segment ‘starring’ the rather unenthusiastic Roderick, Charles, Simon and Ian (” …See me at the end!”). Description as Tape 5. Estimated date of recordings: 1988.
Tape 13. French. Part1:
More notional/functional material, youth hostelling. Ad-hoc and prerecorded. Evidence of student overdubbing/reviewing. Role play here shows the limitations of the ‘communicative approach’ for weaker students! Date of recordings : 1990.
: “I don’t
happen to have a supply of tapes!” The whole side is audiolingualism, pretty much the same as tapes 8, 9 and 11. Successive classes appear to use the same material. Some woeful (mis) pronunciation! Finishes with a Music examination. Estimated date of recordings: 1981
Tape N14. French. Side1 . “…Bad damage?”
The communicative approach backfires: “...YOU begin!
“. Also some lab ‘training’. Estimated date of recordings: 1989
: Year 7 French, “Qu’est-ce que c’est?
“. A look- and- respond type exercise with plenty of repetition. Ad-hoc teacher -led session. Some amusing technical problems. Limited scope for student autonomy. “Just keep your headphones on, don’t do anything else”! Estimated date of recordings: 1988.
. French. Master track only present. More notional/functional syllabus work over -recorded with snatches of A level listenings and ‘testing’ of equipment. Estimated date of recordings: 1989
. French. There are numerous lessons sequentially on this tape, probably because of a faulty student recorder which did not rewind. Content as Tape 16 and N17. This tape was once a master tape from a Longman audiolingual course ‘recycled’ into one of the student booths. Date of recordings: late 1990
: French. Again, an ad-hoc, teacher-led session. Starts with elementary level functional/notional stuff (restaurant orders). Other recordings on the tape include rather unmotivated student-led dictation (passé composé). This tape was once a master tape from a Longman audiolingual course ‘recycled’ into one of the student booths. Date of recordings: late 1990.
: More of the same. French role-playing, followed by more student-centered dictation work, (where use is even made of the ‘call teacher’ button!) Session ends with some feedback (but not in the communicative sense!) This tape was once a master tape from a Longman audiolingual course ‘recycled’ into one of the student booths. Date of recordings: late 1990
TAPE: Quarter inch open reel
RECORDING EQUIPMENT: Connevans language lab, Magnavox 363 mechanical student recorders, quarter track, 2 channel. Note: OX4 was found on a ‘Friedelab’ Model 412 recorder (electronic/ rack mount type).
ESTIMATED DATE(S) OF RECORDING(S): 1978-1981. Found: Wirral, 1987-88, 1990.
: Mostly atrocious attempts at Spanish, in a Merseyside accent. Approach is pure audiolingualism, situational dialogues and subsequent drilling in ‘Eschuchar y repetir’ exercises. Estimated date of recording: 1980.
: candid student conversations (booth’s teacher channel not working)
Tape OX1: French. Student recorder faulty, tape riddled with snatches of “Testing…” and faint recordings. Master track largely absent. Audiolingualism in use here, ad-hoc ‘ecoutez et répétez’ then grammar drills. Some notional/functional material towrds the end (décrire ta chambre’)
Tape OX2: Starts with some operation tips (“…If you press both buttons you record over it“) Then French: some ad-hoc and taped ‘ecoutez et répetez’ with some more woeful pronunciation. Basic level preposition drills (la tasse est sur la soucoup’) and (briefly) faint taped drills (reflexive verbs) follow. Next segment is basic level conversation practise with a rather mouthy class (….if you’re going to be silly….’ ‘You pregnant’?) as on Tape . German notional /functional material (student monologues)
Tape OX3: French. écoutez et répétez’ audiolingualism. Probably one of the roughest classes ; the lesson descends into a shouting match not helped by some crosstalk and feedback (probably two monitor switches on console depressed at once).
Part 1 “…This is the LAST time you’ll ever come in this language lab!”. Part 2: Crosstalk. Part 3: “…where are we? where are we?'”
Tape OX4: “…If I hear your voice on this I’ll shout at you”
Tape OX5: “Ay miss, turn the volume down”
Tape OX6: Prolonged hysterics
Tape OX7: “Miss, it’s werkin”
: “…If anyone fools around…that is all going on your tape”
: “…yer record yerself…what are we supposed to say?”
. Mostly French, basic level. Christine Dalton uses a French class to show fluent use of Merseyside English.
Tape OX11: Part 1: “Mon programme preferé , c’est Kenny Everett”. Part 2: “Ay miss, what page?”
Tape OX12: Crosstalk with Shirley