The importance of oracy

Charlotte Paine- Assistant Headteacher 

In schools across the country, were you to wander into the staffroom, listen-in to a conversation in the corridor, or attend a meeting, I doubt you’d be surprised to hear a conversation about literacy taking place.  You would probably also expect to see frequent references to numeracy in lessons, as teachers make overt for students the connections between graphs in maths, geography, history and science – convincing their sceptical audience that yes, the interpretation skills really are the same across in each subject!  You might however be somewhat less likely to hear discussions around the importance of oracy.  Yet when our students attend college interviews, they will be judged on their ability to communicate their thoughts and opinions with clarity, much as they will when at university and/or job interviews.  At Sarah Bonnell, we are working hard to develop this triptych of skills, which we believe are vital for our students to become successful, articulate and confident young women. 

With this in mind, our Teaching & Learning team recently ran a CPD session inviting staff to reflect on their practice, identify existing strengths, and planting the seeds for development with exciting strategies to enhance literacy, numeracy and oracy in all lessons.

Below are three quick and easy strategies that you could use to develop oracy in your classroom.  We firmly believe that these work for any curriculum area, at any key stage. You’ll also see that we have included ideas on how to differentiate in order to provide stretch and challenge for all students.  

We would be keen to hear any feedback you might have from using these ideas through the ‘comment’ function on this post.  Please do share with us your top tips for developing oracy too; we are always keen to collaborate!
Follow @sbpedagogy on Twitter to see examples of these, and other activities in action!

String debate

Students using string to debate the evidence in favour of condemning General Haig for his leadership in WWI.

This student made five points, which is why she has the strong looped around each finger.
ArticulateArgument roll mats 1

Argument roll mats

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Students using argument roll mats to debate whether General Haig should be remembered as a hero or a butcher following the Battle of the Somme.

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