Oracy in the Curriculum
Valuing our Voices
Learning to Talk; Learning through Talk
What is Oracy?
Oracy is the ability to communicate effectively and to express oneself fluently in speech.
Why is it important?
Being able to talk effectively is not only a life skill but it also supports more effective learning.
Employers rate good spoken communication at the top of their requirements for employees, yet often cite young people do not have these essential skills. Additionally, research has shown that good oracy leads to a deeper understanding and therefore supports more effective learning.
Our aim at Chantry Academy is to give all students a voice so that they:
- become confident, fluent speakers who can explain and justify their ideas and use appropriate vocabulary for different purposes and audiences
- recognise the value of listening and talk to interact effectively with others in a range of situations and are prepared for life beyond school.
To support this aim and ensure our students feel listened to, valued and value others and their learning, our teachers will help students ‘learn to talk and learn through talk’. Working with Cambridge University Oracy and having had training from Voice 21, we will provide regular opportunities for students to develop and use oracy skills in all subjects based on these 4 strands of oracy:
Physical – voice and body language
Cognitive – being able to clarify, convey information, give evidence, argue and challenge politely
Linguistic – using the most appropriate and technical vocabulary to achieve effects
Social & Emotional – listening, taking turns, being confident to talk to a range of audiences
Teachers will adopt a range of activities and approaches including: pair talk, debate, discussion, presentation, listening strategies.
Our teachers are also committed to modelling, explicitly teaching and scaffolding good oracy skills. For example this may be by providing useful sentence starters and vocabulary or reminding about physical aspects of talk such as posture and gesture. We encourage deeper thinking by questioning.
How can you support your child’s Oracy skills at home?
Talk to your children whenever you can! We all know that sometimes this is easier said than done – we are busy and often teenagers are not forthcoming in speaking to us. Mealtimes and car journeys can be good times to talk to each other. Choose topics that are easy/non-controversial at first e.g. why you like or dislike a particular place/song; what is good/tasty/convenient about the meal; etc.
Have fun conversations such as ‘Would you rather…?” or “If I ruled the world I would…” Then encourage your child to explain why.
Help your children to develop their vocabulary by suggesting better words they might have used in your conversations, in a constructive and friendly way!
Discuss topical subjects of concern with them, for example, health issues such as diet, drugs or current news stories. Encourage listening to the views of others, even if they don’t agree.
Encourage them to take part in social activities to broaden their experience of using talk, for example, drama groups, making and performing music with others, school clubs.