What is Oracy?
Oracy is the capacity to use speech to express your thoughts and communicate with others. It is 'for every child to find their voice, metaphorically and literally.” Peter Hyman, Executive Head, School 21
Our aim is to provide children with life-long skills; and to this end, we actively promote and teach children Oracy skills. Opportunities are planned throughout the curriculum to engage children in discussion, reasoning and public speaking. Vocabulary is explicitly taught in all subjects to extend their ability to be effective and engaging communicators. All staff encourage the use of Oracy skills, such as at playtime and during extracurricular activities. In addition, our assemblies are opportunities to model and support children to apply these important skills. Through developing Oracy skills, we encourage our children to be reflective learners and encourage pupils to articulate what has made them successful in their learning and what they can adjust to improve next time. We encourage this discussion and reflection in all subjects and assemblies.
Over the last two years we have worked closely with Voice 21, a charity that supports schools to embed Oracy within the curriculum.
Voice 21 is a national charity that exists to enable teachers and schools to provide a high quality oracy education so that all young people can find their voice for success in school and life.
In order to become effective communicators, it is important that children acquire the skills laid out in each of the four strands. Therefore, we have developed our own Oracy curriculum which ensures a progression in skills as children move through the school.
The Oracy Curriculum at Halifax
In each year group, these skills are taught through the full range of subjects, which provide children with a wide variety of opportunities to practise and apply the techniques they have been taught.
How do we facilitate talk in classrooms?
Each class begins the year by setting their Discussion Guidelines, which outlines the etiquette and expectations for talk.
We also use a range of groupings to support talk, this can range from practising or rehearsing ideas to oneself before sharing these with a partner or in a trio before entering a group discussion. Each grouping gives the children opportunities to develop and practise elements from each strand.
To support the children in articulating their ideas, we provide them with sentence stems. Teachers construct these sentence starters to help the children to phrase their ideas or answers to a particular question.
We also reinforce the Oracy teaching through whole school and phase assemblies. Children are encouraged to consider an idea or talking point and then share their ideas with a partner, trio or in a larger group. Adults are on hand to support the children's discussions but more importantly to listen to the children's ideas and encourage them to share this with the wider group.
If you would like any further information on how you can support your child in their Oracy development, please speak to their class teacher. If you would like to know more about Oracy teaching in general, please speak to Mrs Landers, Oracy Lead.