Oracy and Inclusion
Children with additional needs are encouraged to take an active role in spoken language activities at a level appropriate and personalised for their needs. As a Rights Respecting School, we encourage every child to express their views, feelings and wishes in all matters and believe their views should be considered and taken seriously. (Article 12) Some pupils also take part in weekly sessions with the speech and language therapist and targets are set and worked on individually or in small groups.
Each class teacher refers to the St John St James Talk Guidelines when teaching oracy across the phases. These guidelines help to maintain a safe, effective and respectful environment for talk. These guidelines are broken into four strands: listening, using your voice, vocabulary and engaging in group discussions. The guidelines are used as a foundation for children to self and peer assess what they are able to do and reflect on areas of development. Similarly, teachers use the Talk Guidelines as a means of monitoring progress, planning next steps and providing pupils with feedback.
Talk Detectives are also used in classrooms to empower students to step out of a discussion and circulate in the classroom to recognise which oracy skills are being respected and if the talk guidelines are being followed.
View SJSJ’s Talk Guidelines for Key Stage 1 (Year 1 & 2).
View SJSJ’s Talk Guidelines for Key Stage 2 (Year’s 3, 4, 5 & 6).
Oracy in Our Curriculum
Oracy is embedded across our curriculum and from EYFS to Year 6, children are given opportunities to develop oracy skills and build their confidence in talk for formal and informal situations, both inside and outside the classroom.
Lessons are talk-rich and opportunities for partner and group talk are carefully built into each lesson plan. Teachers use targeted questioning and assessment for learning tools, which ensure all children are able to fully participate and every voice is valued. Subject specific vocabulary is provided in lesson plans in order to support children in working on collaborative projects, group discussion and debate or oral presentations. Every classroom also promotes subject-specific vocabulary acquisition through displaying key vocabulary on working walls and actively encouraging children to use these key words in their verbal communication.
A range of purposeful opportunities are used across the curriculum to encourage learning through talk and learning to talk including:
- Hot Seating
- Exploring a Text through Performance
- Oral Fluency Tests in reading and book reviews
- Collaborative discussions around maths reasoning
- Group and Partner Work
- Role Play
Children are also provided with opportunities to develop their oracy skills outside of the classroom, through class productions and assemblies as well as extra-curricular clubs, trips and visits.
The oracy skills expected of each year group are outlined in our progression map. This map ensures that the children’s’ verbal communication and listening skills are built on and developed each year. This map is shared with teachers and used to support in planning age- appropriate oracy activities.
View SJSJ’s Oracy Progression Map.
Oracy Lessons – The Big Debate
Each class has a weekly lesson dedicated to developing their oracy skills. In these lessons, the class prepare for a presentation or debate around a topic they are learning about in their humanities lessons.
In these lessons, children learn about how their body language reflects their active listening. They learn that gestures such as nodding or facial expressions can show a speaker that they are engaged. Furthermore, they learn about gestures and vocal techniques used to engage an audience such as projecting their voice, varying their tone and volume, speaking with flair and passion and using hand gestures.
Children also learn how to use vocabulary to structure and strengthen their verbal communication. They are taught how to introduce an opinion, how to sequence their points using conjunctions and how to challenge the opinions of others in a respectful manner.
Engaging in Group Discussions
In these lessons, children are also taught how to respectably build on and challenge the opinions of others. The classes uses A, B, C cards which show they want to Accept, Build On or Challenge the opinions of others. The pupils are provided with the relevant vocabulary and sentence stems to show their peers that they appreciate their opinion, but would like to offer an alternative perspective. They also learn the importance of providing feedback to others and how to do this appropriately in order to be meaningful.
The Big Debate Curriculum Map
To view our The Big Debate Curriculum Map, please click here.
In order to best support children in developing their oracy skills and having clarity on what their next steps are, teachers assess the children against the Oracy Guidelines using the Test It documents below. The Test It provides an opportunity to offer clear and specific praise for the pupils’ oracy skills, as well as one next step to be working on. Class teachers will often assess one of the four strands, for example a focus might be “I use my voice,” whereby the children will work on projecting their voice and speaking clearly and confidently. The Test Its also provide an opportunity for children to peer assess each other and provide feedback to their peers based on the school’s talk guidelines. These provide an opportunity for pupils to see what they are doing really well and their areas for improvement and are stuck into exercise books in order for children to see their progress throughout the academic year.
St John St James uses the application “Seesaw” to record talk happening in the classroom. These recording are used as teaching points, where the class provide collective feedback on a recording and think about areas of development using the Talk Guidelines. They are also stored here, so children can revisit videos throughout the year and see their progress. These videos are shared with the wider school community through QR codes, which are stuck into books.