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Getting children to talk more in class

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Aileen Kelly

on 14 November 2015

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Transcript of Getting children to talk more in class

Talking Time: To what extent can children be encouraged to talk more in the classroom by changing practitioners’ use of spoken language in the context of play-based communication?
Starting from the problem and looking at the context
Reaching the reluctant talkers - adjusting our own use of language
Providing opportunities for extended discourse.
A wee bit about me...
- Taught in mainstream primary schools for eight years.

- Have been teaching in a provision for children with speech, language and communication difficulties for six years. This has allowed me to work closely with SLTs and focus on language development in early years.

- Undertook the Masters, Enquiry in Education at the University of Stirling, which I completed earlier this year.
Getting children to talk more
Small World
role play
Wonder table
talking table
in theory
in practice
Before talking time:
Ryan: They’re having a swim.
Not sure if that’s a swimming pool or the sea.
Me: Yeah, you can't tell can you, cause you cant see the edges.
After 10 weeks of talking time:
Ryan: Playing in the sea... or the swimming pool.
Me: Yeah, it’s much deeper this time.
Ryan: Yeah... so it must be the sea or the swimming pool. I hope it’s the swimming pool cause kids can’t go in the sea, they can’t go that far out.
Me: Why not?
Ryan: Cause kids could drown, cause they’ve not learnt to swim...Some kids have not learnt to swim
Me: Ah, have you learnt to swim?
Ryan: Not yet.
Me: Not yet, it takes a long time... But they are with their mummy and daddy.
Ryan: Why is there two mummys and one daddy?
Me: This is a mummy and a daddy, but this is a boy and a girl.
Ryan: Why is she in the water then?
Me: She’s playing
Ryan: He’s still playing
Me: Yeah, his daddy is lifting him up.
Ryan: Maybe she’s bigger then... They’re about to throw the ball.
Me: Who do you think is going to catch it?
Ryan: I think her mummy cause she’s facing that way. If they drop the ball it could sink to the sea.
Me: Oh I don’t think that sort of ball would sink. It is a big light beach ball.
Aileen Kelly | @aileendunbar
in policy
Principles & Practice
: "frequent opportunities to communicate and engage in collaborative work and play"

Throughout the UK, 50% of children enter school with some sort of SLC difficulty - in areas of deprivation, this may be up to 80%.
Talking is our first and principle means of interacting with others.
We learn to talk by talking, particularly by talking to more competent others.
Reluctant talkers face challenges making friends, developing their self-esteem and self- confidence.
Studies have even shown a correlation between children's willingness to talk in early years and later academic success (Rubin and Coplan 1998)
The oracy skills of listening and talking provide the foundation of the literacy skills of reading and writing (Corson 1988, Rose 2006).
To begin to teach literacy before children have a confident grasp of oracy has a detrimental effect on children's progress in all areas. (Browne, 2009)
Four Capacities
talking time
42% of children were talking more during the initial few weeks of talking time than in class previously.

56% of the children already talking well in class increased the length of their utterances and their participation in conversation.

Only 35% of reluctant talkers did so.
Comments not questions
Authenticity - children speak more, use more complex language and ask more questions at home (Tizzard and Hughes 1984)
Eye contact
Share of yourself
Be patient
Authentic questions
Co-play allows teachers to engage as equals (Corden 1992).
Practitioners who forgo questions and use comments or personal contributions receive "the widest range, longest and most animated responses" (Wood 1992)
80% of children were talking more during week seven of talking time.

70% of children who seldom or infrequently spoke prior to the introduction of talking time had increased their participation in extended conversations.

Only 16% of children initially talking lots increased their talk.
Even if talking time doesn't suit your context, think about how you could adapt your language - are you encouraging or inhibiting speech??
And finally...
Is your classroom communication friendly?
Do your provide opportunities to develop sustained shared thinking?
"The readiest way of working on understandning is often through talk, because the flexibility of speech makes it easy for us to try out new ways of arranging what we know. Exploratory talk enables speaker to try out ideas, to hear how they sound, to see what others make of them." Barnes 2008
"those wonderful times that you get when you are totally absorbed with a child, whether is is in conversation or in an activity, with a genuine interest on both parts to find out more".

"the practitioner has the opportunity to learn extensive amounts about how the child sees the world, their level of cognitive development, schemas, community and self esteem (to name but a few!). The child may learn things such as social interaction techniques,
how to think creatively, cause and effect and
factual information" (Kathy Brodie 2014)
Sustained Shared Thinking - Siraj-Batchford 2009
Exploratory Talk Douglas Barnes
Early Years Foundation Stage

"committed to the development of sustained shared thinking by offering encouragement, clarifying ideas and asking open questions which support and extend children’s thinking and help them make connections in learning"
Full transcript