Speaking and Listening Materials

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1 Speaking and Listening Materials The speaking and listening materials consist of a teacher s handbook, a book of teaching objectives and classroom activities, a pack of leaflets and posters and a video of speaking and listening activities. As a starting point for a school it may be useful to begin by looking in more detail at the pack of leaflets and posters. There are four strands to the speaking and listening materials. There is a poster for each of the four strands. 1) Speaking 2) Listening 3) Group discussion and interaction 4) Drama On the back of each of the four posters there are some key teaching points for each of the strands. There is also a progression poster which sets out some criteria for assessing progress throughout the primary age range. The Speaking Poster What children need to learn to do What speaking includes The type of planned opportunities to speak that children need How to encourage children to make extended contributions Talk Partners This involves putting the children into pairs for a period of time and building in opportunities for them to talk to each other to share ideas and experiences and reflect on what they have learned. Debates The children can be encouraged to stick to a particular point of view and try to persuade others to agree to their point of view. They should be encouraged to develop their arguments and reasons and present their ideas either individually or as a group. Predicaments and Problems Children need to be given opportunities to try to solve difficult situations many of these can relate to what is being covered in other areas of the curriculum. The children should be encouraged to put themselves in the situation of a person having to make a difficult decision. They need to weigh up all the alternatives, give reasons for their decision and negotiate situations of possible conflict. Role play could be very useful. Glove Puppets and Shadow Theatre Puppets can be a very useful to encourage children to speak and to listen. Provide a tape recorder during rehearsals this can help children to develop and refine their work, reflecting on their use of language and how they use their voices.

2 Photos and Paintings The children can be encouraged to construct a story or report centred on a particular photograph or painting. The focus can be cross curricular. Radio Broadcast Making a radio broadcast can be quite challenging for many children because the have to sustain talk without the help of gestures, eye contact or an audience in front of them. The children can work on their own or in small groups. The topic of the broadcast should involve explaining and reasoning or trying to persuade others. Just a Minute The children can be given the opportunity to talk on a given topic for a minute without hesitation, repetition or deviating from the subject matter. If the rules are broken others can challenge and continue to talk for the remainder of the minute. The Listening Poster What children are doing when they are listening What children need to learn How children show they have listened and understood Babble Gabble This technique encourages children to listen carefully to remember the plot and sequence of events. The teacher starts by telling a story. Afterwards the children work in pairs. One child retells the story to their partner as fast as possible whilst including as much detail as possible. After a minute the listener takes over to continue the tale. This pattern continues for a few turns. Barrier Games Barrier games focus on giving and receiving instructions in order to complete a task. They involve careful listening and giving clear, explicit instructions. The speaker has to provide clear instructions for the listener. The listener has to ask questions, clarify understanding and gain information in order to complete the task. A barrier can be used e.g. a screen, to separate the speaker and listener while the instructions are being given. Word Tennis This involves making a story with a partner. Each person says one word or phrase in turn so that they gradually build up a story. The children need to listen carefully for key words, main points and events so that the story continues to make sense. Draw a Story This involves the children sitting and listening carefully to a story. The teacher pauses at various points during the story and asks the children to draw the relevant part of the story. At the end the children are encouraged to retell the story using their pictures as prompts.

3 Telephone Conversations The children are encouraged to sit back to back to hold a telephone conversation. The content of the conversation can vary e.g. passing on information, discussing a problem or describing an event. The children need to listen carefully because they cannot rely on gesture or facial expression. Ways to Listen Children need to be given opportunities to listen with a given focus. They could listen to a topic and then work out questions they would like answers to. They could be provided with headings to help them to listen systematically. They could be encouraged to listen out for key words. They could be asked to make a picture in their heads as they listen. All Change The children need to be made aware that a sentence can mean different things depending on which words are emphasised. The teacher can say a sentence in monotone then repeat the sentence using different intonation. The children should be given the opportunity to discuss the impact of the change. The Group Discussion and Interaction poster What working together in pairs and small groups helps children learn to do The type of varied experience of groups children need Think-Pair-Share Children consider an issue or problem on their own then join with a partner to explain their ideas. After the pairs discuss the issue they could join with another pair for further discussion and emerge with an agreed group conclusion. Snowballing Children discuss a particular issue in pairs. The pairs then join another pair to share their ideas. The small groups join together gradually to form larger groups to share ideas. This approach can be particularly useful when dealing with controversial materials. Envoys The children are divided into small groups to discuss a particular topic. After the initial discussion each group sends out one member as an envoy to the next group. Envoys move round all the other groups in turn sharing ideas gathered from the groups they have visited. Jigsaw The children are divided into small groups, preferably of equal numbers. Each child is given a number. All the children with the same number come together e.g. all the number 3 s come together. Each group discuss a particular topic and agree on the

4 main points to feed back to their original group. The children then reform into their original groups and each individual member feeds back the main points from their discussions Statements Game Each group is given a set of cards on which statements are written. After discussion the group is asked to categorise the statements, e.g. agree or disagree or place in order of importance. Rainbowing Each member of a group is given a colour. When the group task is complete the children form new groups according to their colours. Within their colour groups the children compare findings and discuss what they have achieved. This is a useful way of disseminating and sharing ideas and provides opportunities for children to refine and clarify their thinking. Information Gap Choose a topic that can be divided into two parts, e.g. pros and cons of mobile phones. Split a small group into two sub-groups and provide each with information related to one part of the topic. When the sub-groups come back together they will share information and draw everything together to complete the task. The Drama Poster What children need to learn to develop their skills in drama What teachers need to remember when teaching drama Freeze Frames Freeze frames are still images or a captured moment from a specific incident or event. Individual children or groups freeze their actions to represent the characters at a specific moment in time. The children have to carefully consider the positioning of their bodies in order to represent ideas or emotions. The freeze frames can be brought to life through improvisation or by tapping a character on the shoulder to ask for their thoughts. Conscience Alley This approach helps the children to explore a character s mind at a moment of crisis and the decisions they are facing. One child in role as a particular character walks down the alley formed by the rest of the class. They are bombarded by the thoughts for and against a particular decision or action. The child has to listen before making a decision about the course of action to take.

5 Thought Tracking This technique allows the children to examine the private thoughts of characters. The focus is on a character in a freeze frame. The class are encouraged to speak the thoughts of the frozen character at a particularly tense moment in the action. Hot-seating One child takes on the role of a character and is put in the hot-seat. The rest of the class ask questions of the character and the child in role has to attempt to answer the questions in an appropriate manner. Forum Theatre Forum theatre allows an incident or event to be seen from different points of view. A small group act out a scene. The rest of the class act as directors asking them to speak or behave in a different way, questioning the characters in role or offering suggestions or alternatives. Meetings The teacher in role can call a meeting for the whole class to attend. During the meeting the children can take on different roles and share information or differing points of view so that a group decision can be made about a particular situation they face. Paired Improvisation The children work in pairs and take on different roles. They strike up a conversation in role as particular characters, making things up as they go along. Flashbacks and Flash forwards These techniques can help children focus on the consequences of action rather than the action itself. They encourage reflection and discussion. The children stop the action and have to refocus on something that led up to the event or happened afterwards as a consequence of the action. How to get started using the Speaking and Listening Materials It may be advisable for a school to choose one strand to focus on at a time. This would involve a whole school focus everyone working on the same thing at the same time. Once the strand has been chosen teachers need to be fully aware of the suggested classroom techniques. It would be very helpful if teachers were able to share experiences and ideas for development. Teachers need to build in opportunities in their planning for trying out the various classroom techniques. If it is planned for it has more of a chance to actually happen in practice. Teachers need to look carefully at the progression chart which outlines what children should be able to do by the end of key stage one and the end of year four and year six.

6 Teachers need to make careful observations and perhaps write brief notes to share with colleagues as a form of assessment. The questions on the progression chart can be used as prompts when recording children s achievements. Teachers should be aware of the objectives for their year group/s for the particular term they are operating in. There are both written examples and video examples within the materials that teachers can refer to and try out for themselves. It is important for teachers to share experiences both positive and negative and to aim for some consistency throughout the school so that children can build on prior speaking and listening experiences. Teachers need to be aware of the four different strands in the speaking and listening materials but to focus on developing one main strand at a time throughout the school. Have a go! Make it an enjoyable experience for both the adults and the children involved!

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