08 November 2018

Spiral of Inquiry: Another day with Jannie van Hees (Oral Language)

Relationships with all key stakeholders takes time.
If you hope it happens, it won't!

Have a look at all of the children across your school that need extra support - identify the patterns and the trends? 

Phonological understanding of children is based on the quality of the oral language interactions of children and their engagement in talk accompanied print.

We've got no idea how capable their brain is, we need to have high expectations and keep believing. We have to see an unsung potential here and we need to see what that is! Every child has potential - Jannie Van Hees

A young child's brain development
Growing our children's language potential
Rich social interaction 
Responsible caregivers
Quality talk with child
Reading with talk support
SHAPES the CIRCUITRY of a child's brain

Conversational teaching and learning?
Dialogic teaching and learning?
What do high-quality conversations look like? and what does it do?

If you just listen to a story, you won't get as much out of as if you stopped and talked about it e.g. text accompanied print.

Instead of saying "listen" say "Victoria is talking, let's focus and notice so that we can respond". Paraphrase what Victoria says and invite more dialogue from students.


  • Be intentional in choosing books 
  • Develop a list of high-quality stories for Book talk
  • Can books be organized into themes?
  • It's never too early to read to a child
  • The quality and quantity of language counts
  • Put the time and effort in if you want outcomes
  • Reading to children is a skill, use it as an opportunity to have a conversation
  • Read for enjoyment!
  • You don't have to DO a book, experience a book!
  • Small group sizes are optimal
  • Children's knowledge is gained through language, and in particular 
  • Choose word groups rather than single words (the more we bring it to the foreground, the more children will)
  • Teach children to hunt for 'word groups'
  • Children thrive when they are taken to new learning
  • How do we lead children to new knowledge?
  • Play-based learning - how can we ensure deliberate acts of teaching and learning and provide new learning opportunities for ALL children.

Today in our workshop we looked at Perky the Pukeko and analysed for concepts and high-vocabulary.

WOW!! What an amazing experience and an exciting way to really look at how we might bring vocabulary and concepts to the fore for our students. You can see examples of how this played out for us today, below:

  • Explore possibilities to develop a stronger relationship with local early childhood centres e.g. cross-collaboration between school/early childhood education centre.
  • What might whānau workshops look like at Wymondley in relation to oral language?
  • Identify Goals for 2019! with dates and plan of action.
  • Ensure everyone is on board with this!
  • Diary dates in with all of the key stakeholders, this year for next year.
  • Analyse books and look for opportunities to bring to the fore vocabulary and concepts for students.