Monday, July 23, 2018

Spiral of Inquiry: Learning about Oral Language

If you've been following my blog over the years, you will know that I have been a real advocate for Oral Language, especially in the form of Digital Storytelling.

Did you know that kids growing up in poverty hear 30 million fewer words by age 3? The 'word gap' has been a rhetoric in schools for the longest of time. Especially in South Auckland (low-socioeconomic area in New Zealand), however, this article found in MindShift challenges this widely known fact, and states that the study was done 40 years ago with only 42 families.

However, in my new role as new entrant teacher, it's pretty obvious, regardless of the study that Oral Language in our young people is in dire straits! 

I thought I knew about Oral Language, I thought I knew how to foster it, but it seems that I actually need to be more strategic and intentional in the teaching of oral language (how did it come to this?)

So I've read a range of books and watched a number of videos to explore how this might work for my class, and have created a booklet with 20 Ideas to Support Oral Language. At our recent OCoL (Otara Continuity of Learning) we looked at oral language across settings (early childhood and primary school). With my head full of ideas and possibilities I called on a team of people to help me whittle down the key practices and package all of this information into a session or programme in my class.

So our Speech Langauge Therapist (SLT), the Resource Teacher of Learning and Behaviour (RTLB), and the Psychologist met over the holidays to look at a programme. We have chosen to go with "Time to Talk" by Alison Schroeder. It looks like it will be a great way to intentionally teach oral language and create ways for whānau to be engaged too.

In addition to this, I am also enrolled in this exciting opportunity to work with a team of people and alongside Jannie Van Hees who is world-renowned for her work on oral language and vocabulary.

So, there are lots of opportunities for learning this year! I look forward to reporting on this new learning and the impact it will have on my students learning.

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