It’s good to talk
We need to stop blowing hot and cold on the importance of spoken language skills, says a group of Cambridge researchers
In recent years, there has been a growing realisation that children need to be taught and develop their communication and collaborative problem-solving skills. Employers want people who can listen, work collaboratively and work well in teams.
Significantly, these skills are life skills. OECD now recognise how vital is it to have good communication skills in order to be able to problem solve collaboratively. Although speaking and listening / talk-based skills have been considered in the past, they have not been prioritised in the school curriculum. Hence the focus on oracy as we look forward to ensuring our children reach their full potential.
Oracy skills for learning
School 21 highlight how, over recent decades, the UK government has blown hot and cold about the significance of ‘oracy’ – the ability to use spoken language effectively across a wide range of situations – in school. The National Oracy Project at the end of the 1980s signified ‘hot’, while its rapid closure by the next elected government signified ‘cold’.
Many other countries with high levels of educational achievement recognise and champion the importance of developing children’s oracy skills. Recent research demonstrates in order for children to become critical thinkers, they depend on their oracy skills. 1
We are aware however, that there is currently no formal way of assessing children’s oracy skills which children have (bearing in mind this century’s multi-lingual community) when they enter secondary school.
The Plymouth Oracy Project group have been considering this issue.
At High View, we always strive to ensure each and every child achieves their full potential and does not have any ‘ceilings’ imposed upon their learning. Each week, across our key stages, our children have a news article to discuss and debate. Click on the links below to find out more!
- Mercer, N., Wegerif, R. and Dawes, L. (1999). Children’s talk and the development of reasoning in the classroom, British Educational Research Journal, 25 (1), pp. 95-111.
- OECD (2013). PISA 2015 Draft collaborative problem solving framework [PDF].