- > Why Dixons
- > Oracy
From Reception through to Year 11, oracy (the skill of communicating effectively through speech) underpins and permeates the curriculum. Good levels of oracy enable students to become confident, articulate and fluent young people who leave us prepared for further educational study, the world of work and full participation in society. At each stage of their education, students learn through talk, deepening their understanding through dialogue with teachers and peers. We explicitly teach children to talk and also teach our students through talk. Thus, oracy is explicitly taught, developed and, eventually, mastered.
Oracy is supported through our three literacy strategies: students are expected to speak in full sentences, using standard English at all times, carry a DEAR book and to track whoever is speaking. We recognise it is the responsibility of all staff, across all phases, and subjects, to explicitly teach literacy skills.
Importantly, across both primary and secondary, and all areas of learning, there are daily opportunities for oracy to be developed and practised. Students use ‘Turn and Talk’ in lesson to support purposeful discussion. The technique of turning and talking to your partner whist maintaining eye contact, listening, taking turns, and making your argument clear and heard, is explicitly taught from reception class. ‘Control the Game’ develops accountability whilst students are reading aloud and being read to. Teachers model the talk they expect from students and Family Dining is used to support communication skills, with teachers modelling and supporting meaningful conversations with students. Students across both phases deliver appreciations to a large audience during Family Dining on a daily basis. The teaching strategy of call and response (used across the curriculum) whereby teachers impart knowledge by ensuring students repeat key pieces of information or well modelled sentences, supports deep learning as it helps students to retain subject-specific knowledge which they then apply and transfer across the curriculum. Weekly French drill, is an example of this.
Primary students take part in discrete vocabulary lessons which actively extend their knowledge of the English language and enable students to make links across the curriculum. Secondary students are encouraged, and challenged, to use the ambitious word of the week (WOW) not only in their academic writing, but in conversations with peers and adults. Many students attempt to include the WOW in their appreciations or their learning across subjects.
An arts showcase is held each cycle in which students may perform a Shakespeare play, percussion pieces and demonstrate their public speaking skills. Music takes a centre spot in our curriculum with subject specialists teaching music from Year 1. The skill of listening is mastered through music lessons from reception through to Year 11.
Additionally, all students undertake a Stretch project, in which they present to an audience on a topic they have researched independently. In KS1, this will be in small groups and heavily guided and supported. In KS2, this is linked to our values, drivers and knowledge based curriculum. In each cycle of Year 7 and 8, students deliver a three to five minute presentation on a topic of their choice. Year 7 and 8 students have discreet lessons of Stretch to prepare them for their presentation and are expected to spend 1 hour 30 minutes researching, writing and practising their speech. Students are expected to present with notes in the style of a TED Talk.