“Being able to listen attentively and speak lucidly and understandably or to use non-verbal communication effectively are crucial attributes in learning and life more generally. Developing oracy - the capacity to develop and express ideas through speech - is of central importance to both thinking and learning.” - Professor Graham Donaldson 2015
Spoken language underpins the development of reading, writing and communicating effectively and is a vital life skill. Through all learning, children at Manor Farm Junior School have opportunities to develop their oracy skills in order to become articulate, thoughtful and effective speakers and listeners. Children are able to deepen their knowledge of oracy through carefully planned opportunities for talk, in a learning environment which enables all children to have their voice heard and feel valued. We aim to encourage fluent speakers, who are confident to communicate, debate and present in a wide range of situations.
The ability to listen actively, speak clearly and communicate articulately is seen as a fundamental part of the learning process. At Manor Farm, we develop our pupils’ oracy skills through the curriculum, extra-curricular activities and the whole ethos of the school.
Lessons are talk-rich and questions are carefully planned to ensure all children can fully participate. Pupils participate in a wide range of oracy activities which help them to develop confidence in spoken language. Some examples are:
- Partner talk
- Group discussion
- Collaborative work and problem solving
- Role play
- Exploration and inquiry
- Formal and informal presentations - with real life context and purpose
There are also opportunities for pupils to develop their oracy skills outside of the curriculum. This is achieved through pupil voice groups, year group productions, assemblies, visiting speakers, events and participation in local events. Children at Manor Farm Junior School have the opportunity to experience a range of talking styles – from exploratory talk to presentational talk.
Oracy is taught through all learning at Manor Farm Junior School, with explicit opportunities for it planned across the curriculum and wider school enrichment opportunities.
- Pupils develop their oracy skills in discussions, debates, presentations as well as through exploration of core texts, with a focus on using correct terminology and grammar.
- We provide genuine opportunities for pupils to take part in critical discussion, giving them the tools they will need to contribute to society in the future.
- Pupils develop their understanding of the value of effective listening.
- Pupils are given opportunities to develop their creative flair through performance and presentation.
- Children are taught the key skills of oracy at an age-appropriate level, using our oracy framework.
The National Curriculum for English reflects the importance of spoken language in pupils’ development. Oracy is incorporated across our broad and balanced curriculum to develop understanding and higher order thinking. Oracy supports pupils to make their thinking clear to themselves as well as others. Oracy is carefully planned into lessons. Questions are differentiated to ensure full participation and pupil discussions are scaffolded to ensure inclusive practice. Ground rules for talk are developed and agreed on by each class at the start of the year as a building block for their oracy skills to develop from.
Presentational skills are taught explicitly within lessons in preparation for assemblies and performances. Children are given opportunities throughout the year to speak in front of an audience. Presentational assemblies, performance poetry, school productions and formal speeches are some examples of the presentational experiences our pupils are offered. Pupils learn the skills required using the oracy framework, and are given verbal feedback from teachers and peers. They consider pitch, tone, pace, gesture, body language, register and projection when rehearsing and preparing.
We use the oracy framework that was developed by The University of Cambridge and Voice 21.
This framework allocates oracy into four strands:
- Social and Emotional
This framework allows both staff and pupils to understand what makes good spoken communication. The four strands enable successful discussion, inspiring speech and effective communication.
Children develop a secure knowledge of the four strands of oracy, based on appropriate progression through Year 3 to Year 6. They learn a range of specific technical terminology and are supported to use this accurately and precisely across the curriculum in their everyday learning from collaboration in group learning to presenting ideas to a group to having an effective feedback dialogue with a class teacher.
Children are given opportunities to apply oracy skills through all learning. They use their oracy skills to articulate their understanding of a topic, theme or idea, to present findings in creative ways, to reason with others and to discuss and debate their learning.
Through the oracy curriculum, children at Manor Farm Junior School will develop essential skills needed to succeed in the oral transactions of life. They will be ready for the next part of their journey in education, with confidence and the ability to articulate themselves thoughtfully. Through the physical strand of oracy, children will present themselves with considerable poise. Children will choose appropriate vocabulary and techniques to respond and plan effective talk. Children will think critically and listen to others with purpose, and will be ready to engage in conversations which will ultimately shape the society in which they live.