Number one for English language teachers

TKT: A recount

Type: Article

In the fifth article in her series, Kay Bentley explores the term recount and the importance of differentiating text types and genres.

A recount is the name given to a type of text, or genre, which retells events in the order they happened. The purpose of a recount is either to entertain e.g. a diary, or to inform e.g. an account of a science experiment. A recount has a chronological structure and is written from the point of view of someone who was there. The specific language used is a range of past tenses, time connectors and time phrases, and first or third person pronouns. It is a text type found in subjects across the curriculum. 

Examples include:

  • Art – the stages in making a piece of 3D environmental art
  • Economics – events leading to the launch of a new product 
  • Geography – changes in farming from 19th century to the present
  • History – the progress of the Viking raids across Europe.
  • ICT – the steps taken to design a web page
  • Music – events in Mozart’s life leading to the writing of Don Giovanni
  • Science – how penicillin was discovered  

It is acknowledged that in CLIL, the integration of content literacy and language literacy is important and that this integration can be achieved through a genre approach to texts (examples of further genres are: explanations, reports, instructions). Learners need to see, hear and read the kind of language they will meet and construct in subjects across the curriculum.

Language and CLIL teachers should first make sure learners know the purpose of the text they have to read or write. Secondly, learners should examine and discuss models of particular text types before any writing. Thirdly, teachers should focus on the language associated with that particular text type and provide key subject-specific vocabulary and structures to support writing. These could be in the form of word banks or language frames.

Any writing to be done in CLIL subjects benefits from learners’ knowledge of the characteristics of the specific genre. This knowledge can also help them become more critical readers and writers. Some teachers involve learners in developing recounts in spoken form too. This is helpful for consolidating subject-specific vocabulary. 

Increasingly, publishers indicate types of genre in the index of a catalogue, in a course book or beside texts. Learners begin to recognize these different genres and become aware of similarities between them. This increases their awareness of language features which are used in the same genres in different curricular subjects.

In TKT: CLIL, types of genres, including recounts, are tested in Part 2. Candidates may, for example, be asked to match text types to examples, choose which extracts come from different genres or decide which genre is most appropriate in different reading or writing contexts.

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