At Lewis Street and Christ Church our Talk Project gives our pupils opportunities to develop vocabulary, listening and reasoning skills, as well as the confidence to speak loudly and clearly, and respectfully challenge their peers.
We have made talk a key priority. We believe that communication is essential for learning, and the foundation of positive relationships. Ultimately good communication gives children better life chances.
Our Talk Promises help to develop effective pupil talk within the classroom. The talk promises were developed by staff and pupils across the partnership. They are:
· We show we are listening by looking at the speaker.
· We join in because all ideas lead to learning.
· We speak in full sentences in a clear voice that can be heard by everyone.
· We give each other time to think.
· We build on, or challenge with respect, each other’s ideas.
· We ask questions if we don’t understand or would like to learn more.
All our children from Nursery to Year 6 use our talk promises.
We play games to help us practice speaking and listening, for example the Mirror Game, Ping-Pong, and Yes.
It’s much more interesting to talk with a variety of different people and hear different ideas. Teachers make sure that pupils regularly change partners during discussions in lessons.
“It’s good because you work with someone different instead of working with the same person all the time.” (Year 2 pupil)
We use ‘Talking Toys’, for example ‘Talking Dinosaurs’ to help the children take turns when talking in pairs.
Every morning, on their way into Nursery and Reception, children answer a question like Would you rather have dinner in a hot air balloon or a castle? and say their reasons.
This gets our youngest children using full sentences rather than waiting to be asked Why? Everyone looks forward to discussing the Daily Question including parents, brothers and sisters!
Philosophy for Children
We use Philosophy for Children (P4C) across the school. P4C gives children an opportunity to discuss big ideas in a safe and structured way. Here are some questions our pupils came up with in philosophy sessions:
· “What would the world be like if there were no colours” (Year 4)
· “Should we ever pretend to be someone else online?” (Year 3)
· “Should everyone help?” (Year 1)
We use Talk Prompts to help children to express their opinions, for example
· I think that…
· I wonder…
· I have a different idea…
Here’s what some of our Year 3 pupils have said about P4C:
· “It’s good because you think about things you can’t usually think of!”
· “Lots of subjects are fun. But this one – it feels calming”
All our teachers from Nursery to Year 6 have their Level 1 P4C qualification.