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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Take Oral Langage by the Hand in 2014


While our sector has been a front runner in the news over the last few weeks, we, the people on the ground have continued to prepare, plan and gear up for another year in the classroom.

We listen to policy, agree or disagree, smile or gasp and we teach anyway - “we are educators, that’s what we do” Rita Pearson.

This year subscribe to TalKit Tips, the regular newsletter from the stable of the TalKit Oral Language Programme and it shares, updates and motivates those of you on the ground, in the teaching and assessing of oral language.  The big news for us is that our resources, “TalKit Oral Language for Teachers” and “Clear Speech Programme” have been published and are available for general purchase.  Visit to order.

Last year, as I travelled around the country, working in schools alongside teachers and one thing was very obvious. Teachers understand the importance of oracy.  They understand why we need it in the classroom and as I took them on the journey unpacking the details, they are able to recognise that oracy exists in their classrooms.  What they were missing was the framework, the progressions, the assessment models that they live and breathe in all other areas of the curriculum.  Once these things are gifted to them-there is no stopping them.

Today learners are just that-learners.  We teach children how to learn, they know what to do but without the progressions, learning intentions and assessment criteria, kids are lost too.  Give them that and they too are on their way.

Effective teaching of oral language is not brain surgery!  Talking is the essence of being human and in our changing world, as educators we need to take responsibility and add it to our stable of tools.  The reality is it will make all the other stuff easier too!

Children need to develop concepts and language skills that will enable them to continue to build their language knowledge, to learn new ideas, to be effective participants in the classroom environment, and to use this content knowledge as a cuing system in the reading process.


Try not to answer for a student or even clarify what they have spoken when you know that there is a lack of understanding.  Ask them to say it again (with a bigger voice, or in another way) if others don’t understand.  If they are struggling, tell them what to say but get THEM to say it.  Coach them, guide them but don’t speak for them.  Give them the voice.

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