At Learning with Parents, we want to help families to have enjoyable learning experiences together. And for us, it is the interactions that children have with the adults at home which are the most valuable. Yes, all our topics are curriculum linked, but it is the talk surrounding and within the activities which is the most important. That’s why our activities are designed around collaboration and communication.
If we want to promote talk, which topics should we choose?
The most obvious set of topics to promote oracy are those which fall into the speaking and listening domain. There are threads which run all the way from Year 1 to Year 6 (and have their beginnings in the Early Years with Communication and Language).
- Role Play
- Telling Stories
All these threads come from the Spoken Language section of the National Curriculum.
Beyond speaking and listening
Talk plays a really important role in learning across the curriculum. From the talk which necessarily precedes Writing (single words) in Reception, to playing word games in Year 6 to support thinking about Synonyms and antonyms, talk is embedded in our activities.
Talk in Maths
Talk is not limited to our English activities. It plays an equally important part in Maths.
Many adults perceive Maths to be something that you sit down and do on your own, but schools have built a rich culture of talk in the Maths classroom. Our activities aim to promote talk about Maths at home, from the beginnings of early Mathematics when talking about the Number 1, to playing a place value battle game in Place value with thousandths in Year 5.
Not only is interaction fun, but talk is also invaluable for developing children’s mathematical reasoning, fluency and problem-solving. As the National Curriculum acknowledges, ‘the quality and variety of language that pupils hear and speak are key factors in developing their mathematical vocabulary and presenting a mathematical justification, argument or proof’. Therefore, collaboration and communication are integral to the design of our Maths activities.
So why talk?
Because interactions are important – children need to interact with their care-givers at home to feel secure and happy.
Because talking together is fun – children learn when they engage with their learning, and parents will feel more positive about home learning if they enjoy it too.
Because talk is part of a metacognitive process – when we talk about what we are learning, it helps our brains to process that learning and understand it better.
Because oracy is a valuable skill, and talk at home is an important way of building that skill.