It is sad but true, that the developing of speaking skills is a poor relation in the literacy programme, because far too often, far too little time is given to this very important skill. Speaking is important in its own right, but it is also a vital step in the development of listening, writing and reading skills. Too few teachers seem to realise this! Too many teachers, too frequently tell students not to speak!
Developing the spoken language for its own sake.
Children need frequent opportunities to:
- practice speaking one on one, in groups, to the whole class, even to the whole school.
- use speech in different genres, reporting a sequential event, explaining a situation, instructing the class on how something can be done, describing an event.
- use language in a rich way, to experiment with sentence construction and new vocabulary, to experience using new parts of speech in their speaking, like adjectives and adverbs, similes, metaphors etc.
- role play, an opportunity to step into the shoes of someone else, allowing them to experience another view point, to empathise during discussion groups, in drama, in puppetry. (Some very shy children find more confidence to speak when they are “being” someone else!)
The acquisition of speaking skills is so important for everyday life and yet too many teachers say to children,
I would advise them to tell the children to