Speaking, Listening and Performance
A classroom filled with exploratory talk is filled with problem solving, collaboration, thinking.
(Prof Neil Mercer - Cambridge University)
At Ward Jackson Church of England Primary School we realise the importance of spoken language.
The Role of Language in Children's Educational Outcomes:
- By the age of 2 years a child's language development can predict their performance on entry to primary school.
- By the age of 5 the successes individuals achieve in adulthood can be predicted and the evidence shows that the level of development achieved at 5 is of critical importance.
- Adulthood: those with the lowest levels of literacy are least likely to be unemployed; they are also more likely to suffer from a range of negative health outcomes including mental health issues and to be involved in crime (around half of the prison population suffer from literacy difficulties)
Spoken Language Across the National Curriculum
The National Curriculum provides ample opportunity for pupils to apply spoken language skills across: Maths, Science, Art, History, MFL, Music, PE, etc... children will learn not only how to talk as Historians, Artists, Scientists, etc... but learn how to learn through talk. English lessons provide an ample opportunity to teach children explicit speaking and listening skills including: turn-taking, reading non- verbal cues from others, active listening skills by building upon the ideas of others, voice intonation, pace, pitch and tone, appropriate use of formal and informal language choices linked to context and key presentation / public speaking skills.
Spoken Language Opportunities
The thematic curriculum adopted at our school enables an abundance of opportunities for pupils to speak within a range of contexts - inclusive of whole school worships and dramatic productions. We have a 'physical stage' in our school hall which we encourage pupils to use at every opportunity as a platform for speaking / performing; we feel it is essential children leave our school as effective communicators. We want our children to 'flourish for the rest of their lives'. Children therefore follow a detailed progression framework for speaking and listening and assessment judgements are made against this framework each term. As a school we always listen attentively to our children; staff around school engage and model speaking, listening and discussion skills with pupils at every available opportunity.
Expectations for Classroom Talk
Every classroom has an 'Expectations for Classroom Talk' poster which helps children to further develop their key communication skills and use talk as a learning medium. These posters are differentiated, age appropriate and follow the speaking and listening progression framework which we use at our school.
We encourage children to develop public speaking and performance skills at every opportunity. We expose children to performance (through live theatre) as regularly as possible - we often invite M and M Theatrical Group into school to share performance work with us; we also make excellent use of the local theatre at least once per year - every December the whole school watches and critiques a local Pantomime at Hartlepool Town Hall Theatre. Weekly worships, class worships and key events in the school calendar - such as: Harvest Festivals, Remembrance Services, Christmas Productions, Carol Services, Easter Services and the Y6 Leavers Service provide ample opportunity for children to showcase their speaking, listening and performance skills.
Please take a look at our gallery below to see a snapshot of the speaking, listening and performance experiences our children participate in.