Oracy and writing: Speaking, listening, discussion and debate

Primary History article

By John Fines, published 23rd July 2012

Editorial note: Writing is an outcome of its preparatory phase. In reviewing over fifty case-studies of writing and history for this edition of Primary History, it became clear that oracy is central to pupil development of written language, ideas and the formulation, planning, creation, drafting and revision of writing.

Introduction - Oracy

One of the few tangible benefits brought by the National Curriculum was the clear statement that we need to teach our children to talk and listen. The ability to talk - to discuss, argue, debate, describe and express ideas, thoughts and feelings orally - is indeed one of the most important skills anyone can have. I recall some years ago a series of programmes on adult illiteracy and although they showed well the problems these people faced, they also showed how well they got round them by talk. A lorry-driver ‘just asked', others got into conversation and learned by the incidentals of the debate, others just listened with skill and got by.

It is not to denounce the skills of literacy that we have placed such a high value on talking and listening. Of course we must struggle as hard as we can to get children to read and write all the time, never...

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