Primary Oracy: Closing the Gap

Some kids do all the talking, others rarely speak, and the inequality gets wider and wider. Close the oracy gap with these practical, fun strategies to get everyone talking.

CPD for Teachers

One of our expert trainers will deliver this training for you. All In-School training is tailor-made to your school's specific needs. trainer profile

Missing out on talk impairs achievement and access to the curriculum at every stage of education. More and more children start reception class non-verbal because their parents have been too glued to facebook to speak to them. By KS2, some hide behind their hair at the back of the class, glad that their hands-up peers keep the teacher happy. By secondary school, being “naturally quiet” is accepted as part of a teenager’s personality. 

But you’d never accept a child being “naturally illiterate” and going through school without learning to write unless they had a diagnosed learning disability. Even if a child is a reluctant writer, teachers will persist in challenging that resistance. This course equips you with the strategies to enable almost every child to speak to his or her whole class with confidence.

From the first minute of the course, you’ll be experiencing practical activities that draw more children into the conversation. But the activities are not just “one-offs” – they are all carefully tied to clearly explained strategies you can use again and again.

The strategies break down the specific barriers different children have to talking, such as fear of failure, not wishing to be seen to be keen, or being inhibited by the presence of an adult. But this isn’t something that benefits a few children at the expense of the majority. The strategies also make for a more enjoyable, engaged classroom for all learners – including your best speakers, who won’t feel they are missing out when talk is shared more evenly as a result of the changes you make.

As well as a day full of activities to demonstrate the strategies, you’ll be supported with some of the best post-course support resources of any CPD in the UK: a DVD showing the principles at work with children, two minibooks, and a substantial, indexed compendium of resources to install on your school network. 

Course covers:

  • Thinkers’ Games – thinking made physical that feels like play, not work 
  • Help Me Find My Voice – removing the speaking blocks of individual children
  • The Big Think – a practical, simplified version of philosophy for children

What other teachers have said about the course

  • I’ve just finished off this year using your tag wrestling argument idea and it went down a storm. It made me think, ‘this is what I want my teaching to be’.

    Sara Thorpe, Malton School
  • There wasn’t a single student who didn’t get involved and I also saw kids who’ve been quite de-motivated at times step into the ring looking like intellectual prize fighters! …

    Sara Thorpe, Malton School

Full Course Content

Getting Physical

  • Stand up rows: easy set-ups for instant dialogue
  • Thinkers’ Games
  • Community builders

Help Me Find My Voice

  • Small Talk Before Big Talk – getting each child to break their silence 
  • Who and you thinking – getting round indecision 
  • Chance, Chain, Choose – how to share talk with equality in mind
  • Unwrongification – Strategies to counteract the fear of failure
  • How to stop “I dunno” being a pretext for disengagement
  • Drawing out children who are “playground confident but classroom shy”

The Big Think

  • Lazy Questioning – why the questions should do the work, not you
  • Going into orbit – how your stepping back lets children step forward

Sharing with Colleagues

  • Guidance for the resources you take away
  • A session plan for a staff meeting
  • The One Child Challenge: accountability without bureaucracy