Whole School Oracy Focus
At Al-Noor we have been learning about Oracy. This is an important element of our work to help pupils secure the best educational outcomes.
Oracy is the development and application of the skills required for effective spoken communication, which includes language and vocabulary acquisition and use. It underpins children's learning overall as it underpins thinking and writing - hence its importance. The development of children’s oracy is critical for the sound development of thinking skills, language, literacy and learning. Research has demonstrated the direct correlation between the gap in children’s oracy skills with their educational outcomes. Recent research also strongly links socio-economic background with word knowledge. For example, one piece of important research showed that there is a gap of 20 million words between children by the age of three years, from families in receipt of benefits and those with parents from professional backgrounds. Another piece of research established that “for English Language Learners, the ‘achievement gap’ is primarily a vocabulary gap.” Young people with limited vocabulary and limited dexterity in English fare worse than their more articulate peers in the jobs market too. Thus for children coming from homes in which English is not the primary tongue or used at an advanced level, it is vital that work is done to bridge the vocabulary and oracy gap between them and their peers in order to reduce their ultimate attainment gap. This will ensure God willing, that all our pupils are ready to access the best of our curriculum offer and thus leave this school ready for the top sets at secondary and thereafter enter the world of work on a level platform with their peers.
The school has worked with a consultant and undertaken research to introduce important strategies in lessons to promote the learning and use of advanced vocabulary. All classes introduce new words every week through word activities such as 'lines of intensity' where synonyms are examined to clarify and underscore meanings - simpler synonyms are banned to ensure the advanced word is used. As a result, children are using more sophisticated vocabulary.
We have now moved on to promoting talk and the use of full sentences and correct grammar. Teachers are taking care to model good spoken English and correct children as they speak. They are also introducing activities to promote discussion in a variety of forums: whole class, group, pairs and so on.