'The only way to find your voice is to use it!' - Austin Kleon
Here are some views from pupils about Oracy at St Columba's.
As a Voice 21 Oracy School, we are committed to transforming our school’s teaching, learning and ethos to ensure that all of our children benefit from a high quality oracy education. We are part of a network of schools and educators across the UK, open to sharing their best practice and innovation in oracy education. We are working with the Voice 21 charity and their oracy teaching and learning experts to identify and address specific needs and ambitions for oracy both in our classrooms and across school alongside our Oracy Lead (Mrs Page) and our Oracy Champion (Miss Blanchfield).
Here at St Columba’s, our Oracy Aims are to help pupils develop their speaking and listening skills and become more confident, articulate speakers. Children’s ability to speak and listen is fundamental to their language development, learning in school and social development. Talk underpins learning and thinking. Richness and variety of talk is important for all children. We ensure that pupils’ oracy skills play a significant part in their learning. We provide children with role play, real life situations, collaborative and problem-solving opportunities to develop these skills. Pupils will also be taught knowledge, skills and understanding through a wide range of activities, contacts and purposes including:
- Speaking for different audiences which includes friends, class, teachers and other adults in the school
- Listening and responding, both in face-to-face situations and to broadcast or taped material
- Discussion and group interaction, in settings with different numbers of participants and different levels of formality
- Speaking with talking partners, to create and clarify ideas
- Drama activities, including improvisation and working in role, as well as writing and performing scripted drama
Oracy is an essential and fundamental part of lessons and subjects across the curriculum. Oracy strands will be chosen and planned into most lessons across school from EYFS to Year 6. Direct teaching of oracy skills is fostered at our school to enable our children to develop confidence and a range of talk for different purposes and audiences. Links between oral and written language are encouraged and built on across the curriculum. We use a wide range of resources to support our work and train our staff to develop our oracy approach (this includes using Voice 21 resources and training).
We aim to enable pupils to:
- Be confident when sharing their ideas
- Enjoy playing with patterns of words
- Enjoy talking as part of their play and learning
- Communicate effectively by speaking and listening with increasing confidence, clarity and fluency
- Speak appropriately in a variety of settings for a range of audiences
- Develop a wide range of speaking skills on increasingly complex subjects
- Think carefully and organise thinking before speaking
- Respond sensitively and reflectively to what has been heard
- Reflect on their talk
We ensure that our children become confident, successful young people because of our commitment to the use of talking within the learning process. Children throughout their learning use talk partners, group work and whole class work to share ideas and develop their thinking. Role play, drama, discussion, debate, presentation and decision making play a significant part in the learning process. Within drama we encourage pupils to adopt, create and sustain a range of roles whilst also responding appropriately to others in role. In history the children can re-create scenes from the past and then brainstorm feelings and phrases that the characters may have said. In science the children have to plan an investigation with their group and decide what resources they will need. In maths pairs of children will discuss which is the best method for solving a problem and then share this with the whole class. This talk for learning supports the children’s thinking and enables them to learn from each other and structure their ideas. In English lessons we use some talk for writing strategies to encourage the children to verbalise their ideas before they write. For example, children throughout the school, within guided group work, might talk through shared story maps or make class word and phrase banks. This ensures that they have used the vocabulary and verbalised their ideas so that they are then confident to commit their ideas to paper. From Nursery to Year 6 we model quality talk for learning and for writing, and through guided work ensure all of our children become successful users of language and who are able to express themselves clearly and communicate effectively.
We envisage that children will become confident and effective communicators and be able to use these skills in all areas of the curriculum and later in life. This will underpin the children’s ability to make a positive contribution and become effective global citizens. The children will be able to articulate their ideas, thoughts and feelings; a fundamental skill in today’s communication driven world.
The children across school, from EYFS to Year 6, created their own class talk rules using the Oracy Framework from Voice 21. These rules are referred to and followed every time children engage in a speaking activity and because children were involved in their creation, they are fully supportive of them.
We have also used the Oracy Framework from Voice 21 to create a progression of skills document for oracy which is used collaboratively with our progression of spoken language documents.