Oral Language, finally being given the attention and priority it deserves in Primary Schools…
Our children begin to listen and speak long before they learn how to read and write and yet as teachers we know that the primary focus of most language lessons at school, up until recently, has been on reading or writing or both. I, for one, as a parent and a teacher am delighted that during this first year of the introduction to the NEW Primary Language Curriculum here in a Ireland, the emphasis and attention is being focused on Oral Language. Oral Language is where it all starts.
Through attending more closely to what our students say, we might gain a deeper insight into what they are interested in and what’s important in their lives. This equips teachers with very useful information to link children’s learning to the curriculum and vice versa.
As a teacher, I would say that I always incorporated an element of Oral Language into my lessons especially during the introduction to new topics and review of what was learned, but hand on heart, as I reflect, I have to admit that most of the talk, the Oral Language use was done by me. My voice dominated Classroom discourse.
It is time for students’ voices to be heard and developed, a time to empower them with what to say and how to say it. We know that these skills and confidence in using these skills are vital for their future, personally, socially and professionally. The time to equip them with these skills and enable them to practise them is now. Why are we waiting?