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Camden Oracy Conference
Mon 27 March 2017, 09:30 – 16:30 BST
Effective oracy skills help our pupils articulate their thinking and learning, they are also crucial to enabling them to shape and extend it.
Collaborative learning is a common feature of all of our classrooms. It is a time when children spend much of their time in collaborative talk. How are we ensuring children develop the skills to use talk to reshape their thinking, and to have an awareness of how they are doing this?
If we want our pupils to engage in effective talk, we need to teach them the skills to do so, as we would for any other subject. The teaching of oracy needs to be given priority in our classrooms so that children develop the ‘talk skills’ that will enable them to think and learn well.
Peter Dudley – Director of Education
Neil Mercer – Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, and Director of the study centre Oracy@Cambridge at the Cambridge college Hughes Hall (of which he is also a Life Fellow). He has particular interest in the role of language in the classroom and how this contributes to the development of children’s thinking.
Communication Classrooms: Torriano Primary School – The school will share how they have created an inclusive environment that develops speech and language skills for all children through the use of expert resources, specialist teaching approaches and collaborative learning. They will share their expertise on how they have raised the profile of oracy and placed it at the heart of the learning in their school.
Talk for Thinking and Learning: Richard Cobden Primary School – Action based research through lesson study has consistently highlighted the need for quality talk to enable effective learning in any subject. The school places oracy at the heart of all classroom learning and social interactions. They will be sharing practical strategies for developing talk rich classrooms where children are enabled to think and learn collaboratively. They will share their whole school approach which focuses on explicitly teaching children how to manage group talk effectively.
Great Stories and Talk: St. Patrick’s School – Listening to wonderful stories is at the heart of the curriculum at St Patrick's. Children, some with their eyes closed, listen to Aesop's fables or Homer's epics. That collective experience generates and enriches descriptive, enthusiastic talk.
"Writing floats on a sea of talk." wrote James Britton.
Teachers from St Patrick's will describe how the rich varied talk which the stories stimulate raises writing and enriches the learning of all children across the curriculum.
Speaking and Listening: Christopher Hatton School – Teacher led research and lesson study projects led to the realisation that children were unable to articulate ideas and reasoning because they lacked the language skills. The school’s strong growth mind-set approach provided a good platform to develop speaking and listening.
Subject specific speaking frames and talk activities were created to scaffold and develop oral communication skills. Working in conjunction with the Unicorn Theatre, teachers integrate drama into a teaching sequence – identifying moments for talk, opportunities for the introduction of higher level vocabulary and sentence structures to enrich oral and written language.
School 21 (Stratford, East London) – a pioneering 4 to 18 school for children from all backgrounds. The school puts oracy at the heart of all of their practices so that students can find their voice and articulate their ideas. They have developed a series of pedagogies and approaches that give students the chance to find their voice, develop deep knowledge and understanding, and create beautiful work that has real value beyond the classroom. “We want every child at School 21 to find their voice – metaphorically and literally.”
Jean Lang - Head of Learning, School Improvement and Partnership