Monday, June 25, 2007

Oral Language Skills

36 New Zealand teachers were asked to identify the skills they taught under the banner 'Oral Language'. The top ten responses were:

  • Listening (50%)
  • Questioning (44%)
  • Clarity (28%)
  • Volume (28%)
  • Eye contact (25%)
  • Body Language (22%)
  • Responding appropriately to others (22%)
  • Concise, organised structured message (22%)
  • Aware of audience (14%)
  • Turn taking (14%)

The New Zealand Ministry of Education has provided a matrix of Oral Language skills and I have put the skills identified as being taught by New Zealand teachers into the matrix:

When you compare the skills identified by teachers to the Oral Language matrix, teachers have identified all of the key skills as being actively taught. When you look at the top ten skills that teachers identified as being actively taught, 7 of those listed came from the category speaking and listening skills 2 from Ideas and 1 was to do with Language.

This result is refreshing. Even though teachers do have a heavy emphasis on the 'skills' of how to speak in front of an audience, it shows that there is more of an awareness of the importance of teaching students how to express their ideas. This fits more with my cry for more 'thinking communicators' not just 'proficient speakers'.

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Simon said...

Hi Jane,
It all make interesting reading. Some genuine data that, althought the sample is small does enable us to have a starting point in our schools for the development of Oral language and what it looks like in our school. A discussion I hope we will have next time.... keep it coming.

Jane Nicholls said...

Just a thought, isn't it interesting that 50% of teachers named listening as one of the main skills that they teach... we really need to start focussing on students 'speaking'! They do enough listening, maybe the reason they don't listen well is because they are slightly sick of listening all the time? Sorry, a bit of a hobby horse of mine, I want to hear more students talking and less teachers.

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