With specific reference to sessions in each Core Curriculum area which you either taught or observed, consider how you, the teacher or other adults, used Talk to gain access to pupils’ thinking and to enhance the teaching of English, Mathematics, Science and ICT. To introduce this assignment it is crucial to highlight the importance of developing talk for children’s learning. Language is an essential part of learning and plays a fundamental role within the classroom.
Before children develop their ideas in a written format they are able to express the information the wish to convey orally. Which is why in my opinion, children must be given the opportunity to discuss and share ideas with the teacher and the rest of the class. The children also benefit from discussion and interaction with each other as it aids creativity and imagination that may help other children develop their ideas further. Every child is unique and brings with them a whole range of different experiences for example, in literacy when asked to describe a dog; every child will have their own image of a dog which may be based on a home experience. Allowing the children to further discuss their ideas within a group will assist learning tremendously as they are able to build on their prior knowledge.
Children forming friendship groups at school also depend on talk. Children who are able to express themselves and their ideas clearly are often more confident and their attitude towards learning is also more positive than children who are quiet or withdrawn. The National Curriculum offers little guidance on the development of spoken English in my opinion. I read through the document to find some information to aid teachers teaching talk with children with English as an additional language. I believe that this information is relevant to all children. The National Curriculum also states that “In speaking, pupils should be taught to use language precisely and cogently.” (NC, pg38) It also states what pupils should know with regards to speaking in Literacy in KS1 and KS2 but not much else in any other area of the curriculum.
The Primary National Strategy’s are first to create a publication which provides teachers with the support they have needed in the area of speaking and listening. The material has been constructed by the QCA and the NLS in partnership with each other. The National Curriculum (NC) Programme of Study provides support in English and has divided the subject of talk into four main areas:Which all offer valuable opportunities to develop speaking and listening skills.
According to the Standards Dfes site, speaking and listening, reading and writing are interdependent. Teaching and learning about language and how it is used in the different areas will develop all three of them. “Reading gives a model of language, speaking and listening; reading and writing are not only interdependent but mutually enhancing.” (Standards Site). So why has speaking/talk not been given the same attention in schools than reading or writing? When according to the information on the Standards site “Most children try out ideas in talk long before they are able to try and put them down in writing.” (ibid)
When I think of my primary education during the late 80’s, I remember working through text books with very little teacher led activities. Very few lessons were interactive and work was not differentiated. Children worked at their own pace, text book through text book. There were also very little opportunity to talk and discuss ideas with the teacher or peers, it is therefore refreshing to observe children having the opportunity to talk and share ideas with each other during interactive lessons planned effectively by enthusiastic teachers. Examples of these will be included further in this assignment.
The different types of talk include teacher-pupil, which can be a formal discussion between the pupils and the teacher. The children will not speak to the teacher in the same way they will speak to their peers. The talk can include question/answer discussions or fact finding discussions. The benefit of this is the teacher can model appropriate speaking and listening for the children to adopt, including body language such as eye contact and poise.
Another type of talk is whole class discussion which is ideal for debates where children have the opportunity to discuss sensitive issues. The children can learn that everyone is entitled to their own views and they are able to justify their views through explanation. If a child has misguided views or any misconceptions the teacher can intervene and question the child, or by listening to other children their views may change.
There is also group discussion which is often used during guided reading or shared reading sessions. The children input their ideas based on a text, this is a great way of building confidence within a small group allowing the children to participate more freely. Finally there is paired work. I have often observed this to be in friendship groups and I have also observed it in mixed ability pairs which is very beneficial to the lower ability children or the children who are easily distracted. It helped keep them on task and motivated them to complete work correctly, immediately boosting confidence levels.
It is also important to understand how language is acquired from a very early age which may help teachers develop talk within the classroom. From an early age, a child develops its own grammatical rules without physically being taught them. Children do not learn a language by seeing or storing words like a dictionary. There are a finite number of words and rules and by using these words and rules; an infinite number of sentences can be created. “Studies of brainwave activity in babies suggest that the human voice stimulates the language centres in the left hemisphere of the brain, while music sounds stimulate areas in the right hemisphere.” (Davenport, 1994, pg 235).
There are various stages in child language acquisition and every child learns it on an individual level. The first stage is referred to as the Babbling Stage, which occurs around 6-12 months. A baby learns to control its breathing, face and tongue muscles and develop ideas about what they want to say. Babbling is a time of one-syllable sequence and repetition progressing to two-syllable words or sounds such as ‘mama’ and ‘dada’.