EAL, Group work, Oracy

Talk for Learning

Itrat Badar- EAL and Urdu Teacher

As an EAL and Urdu Teacher, talk is an essential component of learning as it enables pupils to: develop, exchange and revise ideas; communicate face to face with an audience; rehearse ideas before writing and rehearse language structures before writing. All of these are vital for language development. I particularly enjoy using exploratory talk in my lessons to develop students’ higher-order thinking skills. It allows students to engage with each other’s ideas where information can be challenged and counter-challenged with reasons given and alternatives offered. This is the type of talk that I aim for in lessons.

Some of the topics that I have explored to encourage effective talk for learning are:

  1. The Internet brings more harm than good.
  2. Should men and women be paid the same?

For talk to be successful in any classroom, it needs to be carefully planned. Below are some questions that I ask myself when planning and preparing for effective talk:

  • Are students being supported to understand the initial problem through activating prior knowledge and addressing key words?
  • Am I encouraging students and guiding them to ask the right questions so that they have a range of possible explanations for causes and effects?
  • Am I ensuring group work enables students to gain a more complete understanding perhaps by assigning different roles? How does this help to frame their thinking so that when they are asked questions they are thinking very specifically about their given focus?
  • Are students reflecting upon their own thinking and learning processes? Have I used self/peer assessment criteria to effectively assess this? How is this allowing them to apply similar ways of thinking to different problems and contexts?

Next time you are planning talk for learning in your classroom, I hope that you find the above questions useful.

Thank you and let’s talk more.

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