Talk to Learn

(60 minutes)

Developing the skill of


In this module you will:

  • reflect on the level of oral communication in your classes

  • identify how to improve oracy

  • plan how to develop oracy in one of your classes


(20 minutes)

Please read the notes, then look at the video clips. Refer to the CCEA Ready Reckoner for Talking and Listening.

Talking is a major way to develop thinking. When we engage with others, we listen, think about what they have said and respond.

Talking builds the blocks of learning therefore opportunities for productive talk should be provided.

Group work develops pupil talk. In groups pupils engage with a subject or idea. They are not just finding information they are processing it.

Pupils increase their understanding by engaging in a number of key thinking processes. They can explain, select, use, explore, imagine, justify, evaluate and synthesise. When pupils develop the skills of talking and listening, they are developing the skills whereby they can understand what they encounter and respond to it.

By providing opportunities for talk, the teacher is developing both the skills of talking and listening and developing thinking about a subject or idea.

Creating opportunities for talk

Well-designed activities to develop thinking should:

  1. engage and challenge yet be accessible to all pupils

  1. allow enough time for pupil exploration and response which is sufficiently developed

  1. allow time to share the learning with others in the whole class by presenting/reporting. This may involve further development of pupil response by engaging with questions.

Creating an environment for productive talk

A supportive environment is essential to all learning, but particularly so if pupils lack confidence/experience in expressing themselves.

A supportive environment should:

  • have clear expectations of group behaviour which is respectful of pupil responses.

  • establish relationships which embed the idea that all feedback is for the success of the individual and the class and that all contributions are valued

Ready Reckoner for Talking & Listening - Key Stage 3 Communication.pdf

Pupils themselves might contribute to a shared discussion on class expectations which may need to be recorded and displayed in the classroom.


(20 minutes)

Reflect on your own classes.

  • In my classes do I give pupils the opportunity for talk?

  • Do I allow pupils ‘thinking time’ before they answer questions?

  • Have there been opportunities for pupils to explain topics to each other?

  • Do I allow time for pupils to discuss their reasoning?

Look at the Ready Reckoner for Talking and Listening (linked to the Statutory Levels of Progression for Communication) in the Presentation section above, or here. Look at the key words in bold and think about opportunities for allowing to develop these skills in your class.


(20 minutes)

What will your next steps be? Take the opportunity to plan how you are going to use what you have learned in this session for future lesson planning.

  • Could you easily implement a plan such as the one in the clip into your school?

  • Who would you work with?

  • What class would you start with?

Further Reading and Support Materials