What is Oracy?
Voice 21’s definition of oracy is supporting young people in finding their voice, metaphorically and literally. Oracy is to speech what literacy is to writing and numeracy is to maths and Voice 21’s mission is to empower schools and teachers to provide every child with an education in oracy.
Is it relevant to the curriculum in Scotland?
The purposes of the CfE are to enable all young people to become effective communicators, successful learners, responsible citizens, and effective contributors. Embedding oracy into lessons enables means of effectively targeting each of these purposes. Oracy is vitally significant to education; though often overlooked and devalued. It becomes clear that Oracy is not only a pedagogy but an explicit part of the curriculum. Talk enables teachers to formatively and summatively assess understanding, re-engage the disengaged and close equity/attainment gaps. As classroom talk requires learners to think for themselves; it both challenges and supports young people to value their voice and embrace ownership of learning.
Has the CLPL been beneficial?
Attending the Voice 21 CPD has enabled me to plan carefully for talking and listening opportunities in my teaching practice. Importantly, I have developed high expectations for educational talk and have been introduced to the works of Robin Alexander, a practitioner who has had a significant influence on my thinking. Across my first two training sessions I have learned: strategies for effective talk; how to manage classroom discussion by applying sentence stems and discussion guidelines, assessment of the context of talk (exploratory/presentational), about the oracy framework (physical, linguistic, cognitive, social & emotional), new ideas for classroom groupings, and protocols for talk.
Are there any techniques worth a special mention?
A technique I have learned and enjoy using is the Harkness discussion method, which is a flipped learning approach that ensures all voices are equal. This has helped me become more inclusive towards the shy pupils in my class. The technique allows me to credibly valuing their contributions and inviting them to share their ideas through structured talk in a way they feel safe.
Has it been worthwhile?
Yeah, I am enjoying developing a dialogic classroom and look forward to evaluating the work I am currently involved in with my young people, to measure the impact on learning and attainment.