The first signs of this panic appeared following the publication of the draft documents last year. And it was then that I decided to reintroduce the wheel, in the form of the series I published at the request of Longman in the early 1990s, when the National Curriculum for English was first presented. It was called Language A to Z, and consisted of two student books (aimed at Key Stages 3 and 4) and a Teacher’s Book, containing an alphabetically ordered set of all the language terms mentioned in the government documents of the time - about 200 relating to grammar, and another 200 or so on other linguistic topics. In fact, the books ended up being used at all sort of levels, from KS2 to A-level. But this is all history, as Longman let them go out of print after a few years.
The situation today seems to be exactly the same as the situation in the early 1990s. There is a renewed concentration on terminology - ‘naming of parts’ - and a focus on structures, with a sad disregard for context, meaning, and use. Indeed, the clock has gone further back than that - more like it was in the 1960s. Regrettable as that is - and I don’t underestimate the importance (or the difficulty) of continuing to argue for change - the urgent question is how to help the situation for teachers right now. I've therefore spent the past few weeks revising and updating Language A to Z, and, thanks to the collaboration of the Librios publishing platform, making these available again as e-publications. The two e-books were launched today - a single integrated student book, and a companion teacher’s book - and they will also be shortly available as pdfs and as print-on-demand items.
My whole website is being redesigned, as a consequence, and things look a bit like a half-built house at the moment, but I wanted to get the books out there as quickly as possible, in the hope that they will help. They can be accessed here. In due course, other books requested from my out-of-print backlist will be made available in this way. The next two, which will be available later in March, will be Words on Words and Language Play. If the blogger link doesn't work, for inexplicable reasons, the URL is http://www.davidcrystal.community.librios.com.