At Barwic Parade, we understand that developing strong spoken language skills is vital for children's development cognitively, socially and emotionally. We also recognise that speaking and listening are at the heart of communication in all forms, including reading and writing. We want all children at Barwic Parade to thrive whilst being part of a language-rich environment and to develop the confidence needed to speak aloud and perform in front of an audience. We want children to be critical thinkers and listeners, to be collaborative workers and to have the skills to communicate effectively in a wide range of familiar and unfamiliar situations. Listed below are the key skills we want all children to achieve.
We want children at Barwic to:
Listen and respond appropriately to adults and their peers.
Ask relevant questions to extend their understanding and knowledge.
Use relevant strategies to build their vocabulary.
Articulate and justify answers, arguments and opinions.
Give well-structured descriptions, explanations and narratives for different purposes, including for expressing feelings.
Maintain attention and participate actively in collaborative conversations, staying on topic and initiating and responding to comments.
Use spoken language to develop understanding through speculating, hypothesising, imagining and exploring ideas.
Speak audibly and fluently with an increasing command of Standard English.
Participate in discussions, presentations, performances, role play, improvisations and debates.
Gain, maintain and monitor the interest of the listener(s).
Consider and evaluate different viewpoints, attending to and building on the contributions of others.
Select and use appropriate registers for effective communication.
In classrooms across the school, spoken language skills are taught at a level appropriate to the age of the pupil. Teachers follow a progression of skills and the oral language skills that have been taught in preceding years is built upon each subsequent year. Children are given the opportunity to revisit, practise and repeat learning in order to deepen understanding and develop a mastery of skills. Teachers actively make links across subjects within the curriculum to deliver writing is such a way that it is interesting, engaging and stimulating to children. Spoken language skills underpin these lessons through discussion, sentence or paragraph rehearsals, performances, listening to ideas or speaking aloud to evaluate or edit work.
At Barwic Parade, we understand that developing competence in spoken language and listening is needed to enhance the effectiveness with which children are able to communicate across a range of contexts and to a range of audiences. This competence is developed by providing children with opportunities to work in groups of different sizes – pairs, small groups, larger groups, whole class, whole key stage, whole school and whole school community. In addition, children can practice these skills during classroom debates or discussions, poetry recitals, circle time, drama, assemblies, Christmas/end of year productions to parents and the school, with visitors to the school or class and on school trips.
At Barwic Parade, we understand the importance of vocabulary knowledge in allowing children to access and understand lessons and day to day conversations. We also know that the quality and variety of language that children are exposed to affects their spoken language skills, their grammar and writing, and their understanding of what they read. Therefore, we ensure that all of our classrooms are vocabulary-rich environments. This is done through staff modelling, discrete vocabulary sessions, displays and discussions about language. In discrete sessions, we focus on 'tier 2' words which are common words generally used across many different subjects in order to extend/secure this essential knowledge and, where necessary, to close the vocabulary gap present. During all other lessons, especially reading, teachers regularly check for understanding and children are encouraged to ask when they come across a word they do not understand. Children have access to dictionaries and thesauruses and teachers revisit new vocabulary in many different contexts to embed this into children's long term memories.
Constructive, formative feedback is provided to pupils regarding speaking and listening skills in order to improve their knowledge and establish a solid foundation for children to build upon and secure during their primary education and into secondary school. Spoken language and vocabulary development is championed by all staff which, in turn, encourages more and more pupils to show excitement about language choices and gain confidence is speaking or performing aloud.
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