The Power of Oracy in the Primary School Curriculum

6 July 2023

Fostering Communication and Empowering Young Minds

In today’s fast-paced and interconnected world, effective communication skills are paramount for success. With the advent of digital communication, children are often exposed to a vast array of written information and visual media, leaving little room for developing oral proficiency. However, recognising the importance of oracy and incorporating it into the primary school curriculum can have profound benefits for children’s intellectual, social, and emotional development. In this article, we delve into the significance of oracy and explore how it can be integrated into primary education to empower young learners.

1. Enhancing Communication Skills:

Oracy, defined as the ability to express oneself effectively through spoken language, serves as a foundation for all other forms of communication. By focusing on oracy within the primary school curriculum, children can develop strong verbal communication skills, enabling them to articulate their thoughts, ideas, and opinions with clarity and confidence. Effective oral communication fosters active listening, critical thinking, and empathetic understanding, forming the basis for successful collaboration and positive relationships in both academic and personal settings.

2. Strengthening Cognitive Abilities:

Engaging in oracy exercises, promotes the development of critical cognitive abilities. Through discussions, debates, and presentations, children learn to think analytically, organise their thoughts, and construct coherent arguments. Oracy encourages higher-order thinking skills, such as reasoning, problem-solving, and evaluating evidence, which are essential for academic success across subjects. Moreover, by expressing their ideas aloud, students become more self-aware of their thought processes, enabling them to refine and deepen their understanding of various concepts.

3. Boosting Confidence and Self-Esteem:

Integrating oracy into the primary curriculum provides a platform for children to express themselves and be heard. Regular opportunities to speak in front of their peers and teachers build confidence and self-assurance. As children learn to convey their ideas effectively, receive feedback, and engage in constructive dialogue, their self-esteem grows, leading to a positive self-concept and a willingness to take intellectual risks. These benefits extend beyond the classroom, empowering children to communicate assertively and navigate social situations with greater ease into adulthood.

Here is Poppy from our Oracy Competition which we hold every year in Birmingham called SpeakUpSpeakOut!

Prioritising oracy within the curriculum is of utmost importance. By focusing on oral proficiency, schools can equip young learners with the necessary tools to succeed in academics, develop strong interpersonal skills, and navigate the complexities of the modern world. Through thoughtful implementation of oracy activities and techniques, primary education can grow confident, articulate, and empathetic individuals who are prepared to thrive in their future.

Here are a few examples of how oracy can be included within the primary school curriculum:

  1. Class Discussions and Circle Time: Teachers can allocate regular time for class discussions or circle time, where students gather in a circle and engage in structured conversations on specific topics. This provides an opportunity for students to share their thoughts, listen actively to their peers, and practice respectful communication. Teachers can guide the discussions, encourage students to ask open-ended questions, and ensure that all students have an opportunity to contribute.

  2. Show and Tell: Show and Tell activities allow students to develop their oral communication skills while sharing something meaningful to them. Each student can take turns presenting an item, discussing its significance, and answering questions from their classmates. This activity not only enhances speaking skills but also encourages active listening and promotes a supportive and inclusive classroom environment.

  3. Role-Playing and Drama: Incorporating role-playing and drama activities into the curriculum provides students with opportunities to express themselves through dialogue, gestures, and body language. Students can reenact stories, historical events, or real-life situations, allowing them to develop communication skills, empathy, and creativity. These activities can be integrated into language arts, social studies, or even science lessons to deepen understanding and make learning more engaging.

  4. Oral Presentations: Assigning regular oral presentation tasks can help students improve their presentation skills and boost their confidence. Students can research and present on a wide range of topics, allowing them to practice organising information, speaking clearly and coherently, and using visual aids effectively. Providing constructive feedback and peer evaluations also contributes to the development of critical listening skills and encourages students to reflect on their own performance.

  5. Debate Clubs or Argumentative Discussions: Creating debate clubs or organising argumentative discussions within the classroom provides a structured platform for students to express their opinions, engage in critical thinking, and develop persuasive communication skills. Teachers can assign topics for debate, guide students in conducting research, and facilitate respectful exchanges of ideas. These activities cultivate active listening, logical reasoning, and the ability to construct and defend arguments.

  6. Collaborative Projects: Incorporating collaborative projects into the curriculum encourages students to work together, share ideas, and communicate effectively to achieve a common goal. Whether it’s a science experiment, a group presentation, or a problem-solving task, students learn to collaborate, negotiate, and express their thoughts collectively. This promotes teamwork, cooperation, and the development of oral communication skills in a dynamic and interactive manner.

Let us know how you incorporate Oracy and what works for you! We’re on Twitter @excelsiormat