‘reading and writing float on a sea of talk’
The ability to speak eloquently, articulate ideas and thoughts, influence through talking, collaborate with peers, and have the confidence to express your views are vital skills that support success in learning and life in general.
By embedding oracy in all aspects of the school’s culture and weaving it throughout the curriculum, we can demonstrate the deliberate and explicit teaching of speaking and listening supports progress and achievement.
The word oracy was first introduced by Andrew Wilkinson in the 60s, in direct response to the growing importance placed on literacy and numeracy. A skill that can be acquired through teaching, vital for children who are more vulnerable and not acquiring the skill at home.
Through verbally elaborating on each other’s idea, building on the contributions of others, and questioning the basis of each other’s thinking, students actively engage in and monitor their own learning, deepening their understanding of concepts and ideas.
The cognitive benefits of oracy are reflected in the robust evidence that quality classroom talk has a measurable impact on academic attainment (Alexander 2012). These benefits include greater retention of subject-specific knowledge, vocabulary acquisition, and reasoning skills and can be found across the curriculum.
Every class has investigated the rules needed when speaking and listening and developed their own set of agreed rules. These are an integral part of our daily activities and may be referred to as 'Oracy Rules' or 'Discussion rules'.