“Reading and writing float on a sea of talk”¬†(James Britton, 1983) – Oracy – I had never heard of this word, but seeing the quote above, and knowing that the term was coined over 50 years ago, shows how important it is to truly delve into this type of learning.

We especially see how oral language develops sooner in our ELL students, as they build up a communication language with their peers. As teachers we need to build on this language of talk to help our students be more successful in all aspects, as well as in language learning.

I am thinking now how to best incorporate some of these ideas. Our groups main goal was to focus on non-written techniques to help our students. Our initial idea is to make pictures to help students share ideas. I have struggled with this in PHE, as bringing out pictures to show when a touchdown happened is not easy. Demonstrating it is much more useful. More importantly, I think this small group discussion idea is a lot more useful, as this group makes plays and whatnot in PHE, especially in my current Grade 8 Flag Football teamwork unit. So, how can I incorporate strategies to help them be more successful with this?

This resource to help students focus on how to have useful conversations with what they are doing is where I might start, re-creating this to focus more on my subject could be good. What do others think? I have done guiding principles for group work, but this seems more focused on just the conversation, have others used something like this? I have done a bit with debate skills in this regard, but¬†would like to incorporate this more in my current unit…. stay tuned – any feedback that others have tried, greatly appreciated!

3 thoughts on “Oracy”

  1. Hi Andy,

    Not sure if you have seen Simon Underhill’s post about Spiderweb discussions, but within it is a link to some wonderful resources and rubrics to get students to reflect on their group work. You have probably done something similar already, but I find fish bowl discussions or video recordings work nicely too and then get students to make their own do’s and don’ts checklist of a quality discussion by observing.


  2. Thanks for sharing your ideas Andy!
    I agree that if we support our students in becoming confident speakers and actually teach them how to discuss things, reading and writing will come along faster. Check out the Complex Instruction Skillbuilders (http://web.stanford.edu/class/ed284/csb/). Lots of ideas there. I have also tried to assign roles to my students and the group discussion became more meaningful and the children more engaged.

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