English curriculum – spoken language

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At Dartford Primary Academy, we aim to provide a solid foundation for the development of spoken language skills. Talk for learning is viewed as an effective tool and is fundamental for classroom discussions- from effective questioning to constructive peer discussions. Teachers use talk proficiently to develop and encourage thinking and reasoning skills. We believe that the ability to speak fluently, express ideas and thoughts and collaborate with peers are all vital life skills that support success in learning and life in general.

We support key researchers’ findings that strong spoken language skills lead to higher order thinking and deeper understanding. Hence, we have designed a curriculum that focuses on vocabulary rich discussions as we want to equip our children with the tools they need to be heard, not just in school, but in their future careers.

Our spoken language curriculum will enable children to:

  • speak with confidence, clarity and eloquence;
  • recognise the importance of listening in conjunction with speaking,
  • be confident in the value of their own opinions and to be able to express and justify them to others;
  • adapt their use of language for a range of different purposes and audiences,
  • sustain a logical argument, question, reason and respond to others appropriately;
  • concentrate, interpret and respond appropriately to a wide range of immersive experiences;
  • be open-minded, to respect the contribution of others and to take account of their views;
  • celebrate the diversity of languages, dialects and accents in the school and appreciate the experience and value the contributions of children with a wide variety of linguistic abilities;
  • share their learning in an engaging, informative way through presentations, recitals, drama, poetry and debate.

Spoken language is embedded in our school curriculum in all subjects. The progression the children follow is identified in the spoken language map. By ensuring that all children are given the support and opportunities they need to thrive in this subject, we place inclusion at the heart of our teaching. Therefore, spoken language is embedded in all aspects of the school’s culture, weaving it through our inquiry learning, wider curriculum, marking and feedback policy. Our daily classroom practices ensure children respond to high expectations, quality first teaching and modelling of speaking and listening. At DPA, the ‘classroom buzz’ of purposeful talk is encouraged as a key learning tool.

  • Maths -we have introduced White Rose question stems and the use of manipulative for every lesson so children are able to engage in whole class discussions and exploratory group talk.
  • Writing- children build their thoughts incrementally through peer and group talk to improve vocabulary. Vocabulary word walls are visibly displayed in each classroom. Our ‘live’ feedback policy allows children to discuss their writing openly with their teacher and peers which provides immediate response to misconceptions.
  • Reading- children are given opportunities to speak about what they’ve read, read aloud, echo read, read with fluency and expression and improve their listening skills amongst others
  • Inquiry Learning- deep discussions promote children’s autonomy in the classroom through our ‘student-led investigations’. Pupis generate inquiry questions important to them stimulated by our provocations.
  • Music- Children actively feedback to each other on performances and evaluate pieces of music by a range of composers.
  • PE- Children are encouraged to engage in peer feedback and to discuss teamwork.
  • Science- Scientific investigations provide boundless opportunities for children to engage in discussions, ask questions, learn new scientific concepts and collaborate through discussions

Spoken language development has a significant, positive impact on our children at Dartford Primary Academy. Through regular formative assessment we build on their cognitive development making use of various teaching methods and thus improving language skills. This enables our children to be confident speakers as seen throughout the school environment and at public performances. Pupils receive constructive feedback on their spoken language and listening, not only to improve their knowledge and skills but also to establish secure foundations for effective spoken language in their studies at primary school, helping them to achieve in secondary education and beyond.