What is oracy? Should we teach it?

Oracy – Why teach it?

Should we teach oracy skills in school? Simply, yes.

But what is oracy? There is a definition on wikipedia but when I mention oracy it is often met with a frown and the question “what is that?” In old money, it is speaking and listening skills, but with the ability to articulate well what you know with fluency. Many new frameworks and schools focus upon it in the curriculum, such as Oracy Cambridge‘s Oracy Skills Framework and Glossary.

It is a concept that was born out of the recognition of the importance of effective communication in today’s world. As society becomes more interconnected and globalised, the ability to express oneself clearly and confidently becomes increasingly valuable. The Oracy All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) campaign wrote the Speaking for Change report which explores in depth its value and is well worth a read.

The need to be articulate

The idea of teaching speaking skills in school was likely influenced by several factors. Firstly, the need for students to be able to articulate their thoughts and ideas in a coherent manner is a fundamental skill that can benefit them in various aspects of their lives. Whether it is participating in class discussions, presenting projects, or engaging in debates, the ability to speak effectively allows students to effectively convey their knowledge and opinions.

Skills needs for the professional world

Secondly, the idea of teaching speaking skills in school may have been driven by the recognition that communication skills are essential for success in the professional world. Employers often look for candidates who can effectively communicate their ideas, collaborate with others, and present themselves confidently. By teaching speaking skills in school, educators aim to equip students with the tools they need to succeed in their future careers.

Oral communication activities promote critical thinking, problem-solving and creativity

Additionally, teaching speaking skills in school has have been influenced by research and evidence highlighting the positive impact of oral communication on learning outcomes. Studies have shown that engaging in oral communication activities can enhance critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity. There are fantastic education providers who specialise in this area. For example, Thinking Moves by Dialogue Works is a metacognition programme that fits in perfectly with current teaching practice. By incorporating speaking skills into the curriculum, educators can create a more interactive and engaging learning environment that fosters students’ overall development.

Oracy skills for levelling up

In conclusion, the idea of teaching speaking skills in school emerged from the recognition of the importance of effective communication in various aspects of students’ lives. By equipping students with the ability to express themselves clearly and confidently, educators aim to prepare them for success in both their academic and professional pursuits.

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