Global learning calls for quality speaking and listening, and offers a huge range of contacts for quality talk. It engages with real-life issues and debates which touch on children’s lives: some of these are controversial; many will be things which children have passionate views about.
If language, in all of its guises, is the main tool we have for making meaning of the world, then speaking and listening is crucial for imagining and enabling change, and for working with others as learners.
This article offers ideas to support in-school CPD on supporting and evaluating speaking and listening in primary schools, including:
Children are most likely to respond thoughtfully and carefully if issues are raised in a classroom where they feel free to share their ideas and confident that their contributions are valued.
It takes time and careful planning to develop this kind of atmosphere. Games, group activities and stories which support children’s self-esteem and encourage co-operation can help. It also involves creating an environment for collaborative learning, and where children are actively involved in decision making.
Through collaborative group work, children talk together and learn:
As part of a staff meeting or CPD session, teachers could work in small groups to share their current strategies for enabling talk in groups. What is working well? What could be improved?
There are further prompts for developing groupwork in the article Supporting groupwork … for personalised and global learning in primary schools.
This activity uses the PDF The value of talk
Speaking and listening activities can be used for many different purposes, such as exploring ideas and experiences, weighing up different points of view or exploring issues.
We suggest using the list we offer as follows:
The PDF Talking for a purpose invites teachers to develop these ideas further, by identifying different ways in which children use talk, and using them as a starting points to plan related speaking and listening activities which support an exploration of issues.
This activity uses the PDF Valuing diversity in language. The diverse range of languages in our communities offers us both opportunities and challenges.
Speaking and listening to explore global connections and Talking about photographs offer a wide range of teaching activities to support speaking and listening about issues.
As part of your CPD session you could:
- what they did;
- some of the thinking processes involved in each activity;
- how they would use the activities to stimulate thinking about issues.
This activity uses the PDF Assessing speaking and listening.
One of the advantages of children having space to think, talk and work together, is that this frees us up as teachers to observe and assess them.
The stimulus sheet offers ideas for collecting evidence from speaking and listening work.
The downloadable sheet Children evaluating their groupwork offers prompts for children to think about how well they have worked together as a group.
Material for this article has been drawn from the Tide~ publications, Fat felts & sugar paper ~ activities for speaking and listening about issues and Start with a story – supporting young children’s exploration of issues.