English Speaking and Listening
Speaking and listening skills are prioritised throughout the school, not only in literacy lessons but throughout the curriculum as children learn to listen and talk in many ways including discussions, presentations and role play.
Central to good English teaching is meaningful dialogue. Although closed questions can generate a superficial sense of pace in a classroom, it is much more important to provide time for children to think. They need to learn to interact with the text, develop their understanding and their critical thinking skills, and express opinions. Asking the children to discuss an open question in pairs or groups before feeding back to the class gives many more of them the opportunity to speak and think, treating others with kindness and empathy and explaining with clarity and confidence. Children recognise that speaking and listening can lie at the heart of conveying character, and that through speaking and listening effectively, misunderstandings can be addressed and relationships enhanced.
Approaches to teaching and learning encourage pupils to voice their ideas in small group and class discussions, as we recognise that sharing and explaining concepts with peers enhances learning. Staff model the use of higher level vocabulary within their speech and expanding children’s vocabulary is a key focus from EYFS. Subject specific vocabulary is embedded across the curriculum, through teacher modelling, in context. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.
Reading sessions encourage pupils to explore unfamiliar vocabulary and expand their knowledge of words. Staff model correct grammar in speech and encourage children to reflect this in their use of spoken and written language. Children are given the chance to orally rehearse ideas for writing.
Drama is used across the curriculum to explore and engage children in their learning. This gives children the chance to embed vocabulary in shared activities.
Children in Reception, Years 1 and 2 also perform a Christmas production; Years 3,4 or 5 perform a production at Easter; Year 6 perform in the Summer. The whole school celebrates each year organising Infant and Junior concerts in a local theatre. There are additional celebrations of events such as World Book Day and festivals such as Diwali.
In a safe and encouraging environment, children develop into confident communicators who listen and speak, treating others with kindness and empathy and explaining with clarity and confidence. Children recognise that speaking and listening can lie at the heart of conveying character, and that through speaking and listening effectively, misunderstandings can be addressed and relationships enhanced.