Literacy and Learning through Talk: Strategies for the Primary Classroom

Literacy and Learning through Talk: Strategies for the Primary Classroom

Literacy and Learning through Talk: Strategies for the Primary Classroom

Literacy and Learning through Talk: Strategies for the Primary Classroom

Synopsis

"Literacy and Learning through Talk blends theory, research and practice to show how an integrated programme of work can be developed to ensure that literacy is taught in a vibrant and stimulating way. Strategies for developing successful group work and whole class, interactive discourse are examined, and effective teaching roles and questioning techniques are explored. Transcripts of group discussions and examples of children's work illustrate various points and work plans and practical classroom activities are described." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Excerpt

The term 'oracy' was first coined by Andrew Wilkinson (1965) who called for speaking and listening to be given much more prominence and to be included in our conception of literacy. In the 1970s, projects led by linguists and educationalists, such as Halliday et al. (1964) and Rosen and Rosen (1973), illustrated the importance of classroom talk, and the work of Barnes et al. (1969) and Tough (1977) drew particular attention to aspects of teacher-pupil discourse. Three major National Curriculum development projects took place between 1987 and 1993: the National Writing Project, the National Oracy Project and the Language in the National Curriculum Project. These were all government approved and funded initiatives undertaken by thousands of teachers working in schools throughout the UK and supported by regional coordinators. The projects were unique in bringing together teachers, local education authority (LEA) advisers, Her Majesty's Inspectors and academics. Collectively, the projects constituted collaborative action research on an impressive scale and should have had a major impact on educational policy and classroom practice. A recurring message was that talk has a central role to play in developing children's knowledge and understanding.

Classroom research, conducted by teachers themselves, therefore confirmed the theoretical stance of socio-cultural psychologists, such as Vygotsky (1978), Bruner (1986) and Wood (1988), and supported the call by educationalists such as Britton (1987) and Wells (1987b) for speaking and listening to be an essential part of the National Curriculum for English. Successive HMI surveys and reports also consistently highlighted the importance of spoken language in learning. Plowden (Central Advisory Council for Education 1967) echoed Wilkinson's call for more emphasis to be placed on spoken language, and Bullock (DES 1975) stressed the need for more collaborative group work and the use of exploratory language. The Assessment of Performance Unit (APU 1988) encouraged the development and evaluation . . .

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