School21, a free school established in 2012 – are working with academics from Cambridge University to develop a pedagogy and curriculum with talking skills at its centre. Their aim is to develop confident, articulate speakers, and to improve classroom talk in order to foster better thinking and attainment by giving oracy the same place in the curriculum as reading and writing, and embedding quality talk in every lesson rather than treating it as an optional extra.
This pilot programme has two main objectives:To develop diagnostic tests that allow schools to monitor the quality of classroom talk, to measure children’s ‘oracy age’, and to identify particular areas of strength and weaknessTo create a suite of interventions that schools can use to boost pupils’ oracy skills, based around a whole-class approach called dialogic talk, supplemented with extra tuition in particular skills (e.g., communication lessons, voice coaching)
There is strong evidence that oracy can improve pupil achievement, particularly for younger students. This project aims to develop a whole-school approach to teaching oracy skills.
The pilot project is being evaluated by Sheffield Hallam University and the principal investigator is Bronwen Maxwell. It is important to note that this pilot is to develop the programme and assess its feasibility. It will not allow us to test the efficacy of any programme developed and subsequent evaluation will be required before the programme developed by School21 could be scaled up.
To view the project’s evaluation protocol click here.
The evaluation report will be published in late 2015.