School of Education

Oracy Interest Group

Dr Rupert Knight is leading a collaboration between the School of Education and the local Transform Multi Academy Trust  looking at oracy in the primary classroom. The project has taken the form of a small professional learning group involving teachers from six trust schools and a trust consultant, with a new cohort of teachers from across the primary age range each year.

Afternoon meetings take place twice a term, hosted by a different school each time and the meeting format has evolved in response to teachers’ interests. Currently, the group observes the hosting teacher implementing an aspect of oracy in their classroom (based on a particular focus agreed at the previous meeting) and this leads to a discussion about similarities and differences in other teachers’ school and class contexts. Participants then provide an update on their own oracy-related practice in light of the previous meeting.

The second part of the meeting involves Dr Knight, as the university tutor, offering some insights from research and theory on a new aspect of oracy education chosen by the group in advance. Areas of focus this year have included:

  • working with pupil responses in whole-class discussions
  • oracy opportunities across the curriculum
  • developing a shared understanding of talk
  • finding authentic contexts for talk
  • creating the conditions for productive peer talk.

Following this input, which is aimed at generating principles for consideration, the teachers discuss ways that these ideas might relate to and be adapted for their own contexts, thereby keeping a strong focus on professional judgment and responsive practices.

Feedback from teachers involved suggests that they particularly value seeing practice from other schools and having time, space and support to engage with research findings. From Dr Knight's perspective, the collaboration offers a great opportunity to stay connected to practice and understand the nuances of spoken language in diverse settings and age groups.

For the third cohort next academic year, there are plans to move towards a slightly more structured lesson research approach with a running theme (oracy for a particular purpose) for the year.


Posted on Wednesday 10th July 2024

School of Education

University of Nottingham
Jubilee Campus
Wollaton Road
Nottingham, NG8 1BB

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