Oracy In Action

Learning through Talk and Learning to Listen

Working with Voice 21, the UK’s oracy education charity, Oracy has become the golden thread to learning and teaching at Hill Farm. We believe that incorporating purposeful talk into lessons and using springboards for discussion enriches both learning experiences and teaching effectiveness.  This year we aim to achieve Voice 21 accredited status.

Our approach to learning through talk revolves around 5 core strategies that are integrated across the curriculum:

Vocabulary development

At Hill Farm, we prioritise vocabulary acquisition and development, recognising its central role in lesson planning. Through our structured approach to explicit vocabulary teaching, we offer children the chance to engage actively with new words, allowing them to “play” with language, deepen their comprehension and explore subtle nuances in meaning.

Teachers at Hill Farm have high expectations for children’s written and oral vocabulary usage, consistently modelling the use of high-quality language through their teaching and interactions with the children.

Talk protocols

In order to respond to the speaker, children are trained to use Makaton sign language protocols to show their agreement or disagreement with ideas, thoughts or answers. As part of our commitment to inclusivity, these protocols ensure that all students have the means to communicate within their lessons.

Active listening

We believe that teaching children to listen is just as important as teaching them to talk! In order to quantify what listening is, we use a listening ladder which breaks down the components of active listening into key steps. These includes giving the speaker 100% focus, asking clarifying questions and summarising the speaker’s ideas.

Talk tactics

To scaffold classroom dialogue and foster educationally productive talk, talk tactics are employed in all lessons. These sentence stems, such as ‘I would like to build on your idea by saying…’, prompt pupils to think strategically about their contributions and encourage them to communicate in full, coherent sentences when sharing their ideas.

Valuing every voice

Through the use of talk tactics, spring boards for talk, our talk protocols and our focus on active listening, all learners’ voices and contributions are valued. This approach is further reinforced by our focus on fostering values and promoting mutual respect among our children.

As an aspiring accredited Voice 21 school, Hill Farm have showcased Oracy in practice to local network schools.  Feedback has been very positive with colleagues able to take away ideas to implement in their own schools. 

Our Talk Toolkit and Protocols:

Our-Talk-Toolkit_HFP-1-1 Choose-Your-Protocol_HFP


Children participate in assemblies with a focus on oracy, aimed at bolstering their understanding. Additionally, they are given the chance to showcase their expertise and perform for their peers and parents during class assemblies.