Role of the teacher

What is the teacher’s role during exploratory talk?

Should you correct misconceptions during exploratory talk?

Your role now has shifted slightly. You now need to take the time to carefully plan questions that build on and craft the discussion you want to take place. (More on this tomorrow!)

During this type of talk it is essential that the children do not get overshadowed by you. By this I mean that if a misconception is discussed and not sorted it would be easy add the teacher to step in and put this right. However in doing this you potentially invalidate the talk taking place between the children and are essentially saying that teacher talk is more important than child led talk.

Rather than chance this happening you could take note of the misconception and address this during a plenary asking what others think of the point that was made. Try to facilitate the talk so that the children reach the right conclusion without invalidating the talk that had occurred.

Exploratory talk

Douglass Barnes says “exploratory talk is hesitant and incomplete because it enables the speaker to try out ideas, hear how they sound, see what others make of them.”

In this type of talk there is a sense of collaboration and shared purpose. You could be trying to reach a shared agreement or solve a problem.

Contributions are treated with respect.

Pupils offer reasons for their opinions.

Pupils are not afraid to challenge one another’s ideas politely.

In exploratory talk you might hear:

• To challenge what you said…
• Do you mean…
• How about…
• Linking to what X said…
• Is it like when…

Exploratory talk is messy talk, where pupils grapple with the meaning to make it their own. It is the most educationally productive talk, helping to develop understanding and move learning forward.

• To challenge what you said…
• Do you mean…
• How about…
• Linking to what X said…
• Is it like when…

Exploratory talk is messy talk, where pupils grapple with the meaning to make it their own. It is the most educationally productive talk, helping to develop understanding and move learning forward.

If I ruled the world…

Here’s another game linking to the final strand of the framework – cognitive:

If I ruled the world…
Play in groups of 4 – 6. One player begins by saying, “If I ruled the world, I would… because…” They need to describe what they would do and why.

The next person must say, “I couldn’t disagree more because…” They must explain why they would disagree(even if they don’t).

To be successful you must use logic and reason, providing explanations for why they disagree and proposing new ideas.

1 to 20 game

Here’s another game linking to the framework. This time linking to the social and emotional stand:

The 1 – 20 game
Sit the pupils in a large circle. Add a group count from 1 – 20. You are not allowed to count in order, taking turns to say a number. Instead you must shout out a number. You should start by saying 1, the next pupil jumps in saying 2 and so on.

To be successful you must read the room, use eye contact to establish when the right time to speak is.

What’s the word?

Here’s a game to try out that links with the linguistic stand of the framework:

What’s the word?
Played in groups of 3- 6. Provide each group with a Newsome of words cards. These could feature objects such as a map or an aeroplane. A player must describe what is on the card without saying the actual word and without gestures actions.

Variations of the game could include subject specific or technical vocabulary you would like the children to learn.

To be successful children must reach for alternative vocabulary in order to describe the word on the card.

Which emotion?

Here’s a game that supports the physical strand of the oracy framework:

Which emotion?
Give pupils a statement such as ‘it’s going to snow today’ and a number of different emotions such as excited, disappointed, nervous, ecstatic, confused, worried and angry. In groups the children must say the statement as if they were feeling one of the emotions you have given them.

In order to do this they will have to manipulate their voice adapting their tone and use gestures or facial expressions to help.

Learning to and through talk

Oracy takes place best when we combine learning to talk with learning through talk. (Stott, Gaunt)

In order for this to happen we need to teach children the vocabulary for the subject, and how to have a discussion about it e.g. through giving sentence stems, teaching the roles for talk, taking turns etc.

How do you currently provide opportunities for your children to learn through and to talk?

Speaking is a skill that needs to be taught

While no one would ever question the need to teach a child to read, all too often it is assumed that speaking is a skill that doesn’t require teaching – instead, children should just ‘pick it up’. But not all children will. (Stott, Gaunt).

Neil Mercer explains that school is the second chance for those who do not gain language development at home.

If we don’t teach them, who will?