Saint-Didier primary school

Oral communication 

summary > school > cycle 3

The new programmes for primary schools place as much emphasis on proficiency in oral ability than in written capacities. At Saint-Didier, this aspect of language has already been fully integrated. Judging from the surprised reactions of visitors when they hear our pupils speaking, it would seem that this is not the case everywhere.

What is done in cycle 3 to enable the children to continue to develop their oral language skills?

1. I give them time to express themselves.

Talk Time is the first period of the day during which every child has the opportunity to talk about something he/she has done, or to present something...

There are many other talking opportunities throughout the school day. Thus, after each activity, every child is given the opportunity to express himself about what he did, what he learnt and any difficulties he experienced. This involves the whole class, so it allows each child to know what other groups did. Moreover, it means I become aware of difficulties and can take appropriate action if necessary. The transition from one activity to the next one is also a lot easier. I do not intervene unless I am addressed directly.

Some activities require a high proficiency in oral communication: the co-operative council, philosophy, review of the day, talks...

Presentation of a cacao bean during Talk Time


2. I never repeat what pupils say. In contrast to what is advocated at the Teacher Training Institute of Lyons, I do not provide the 'corrected' version of what children say, the version which should in principle set a good example (the negative outcomes of repeating/correcting are obvious: the child ceases addressing the class, and only talks to the teacher, who will repeat what he says anyway; the child stops bothering to talk loudly enough, to articulate or to use language that is understandable).

3. I talk as little as possible, thus leaving more talking time for the children. In addition, the children, following my 'covert' example, spend less time chattering.

4. I express myself as clearly as possible, and as correctly as possible. In the long term, this has a large influence on how the children express themselves.

5. The arrangement of the desks in a U-formation facilitates communication. It is obvious that the arrangement of children in rows in the 'coach seat' formation is specifically designed to hinder communication.

6. Periods of class, group and individual activity are rotated. The level of attention required for class activities cannot be sustained for long periods.

7. Oral communication is assessed. The pupils know what is expected of them. This is the assessment chart for oral communication:

I LISTEN I am quiet when someone is talking to the class.
I listen to the teacher (or any other adult) when he's talking to the class.
I listen to my classmates when they are talking to the class.
I let the talker finish saying what he wants to say.
All the previous points
All the previous points
All the previous points
COURAGE TO EXPRESS MYSELF I express myself in front of the class during different activities.
I gave my opinion in philosophy or during the co-operative council.
I make my disagreement known.
I presented a poem, a play, an investigation.
I recited a text or a poem.
  I gave my own interpretation of a poem, a text...
I MAKE MYSELF UNDERSTOOD I contribute without a pencil or chewing gum in my mouth.
I speak without putting my hand in front of my mouth.
I speak loudly enough for the whole class to hear me.
I articulate.
I speak slowly enough to be understood.
I whisper when necessary.
I check that those I want to talk to are ready to listen to me.
I COMMUNICATE I remember what I wanted to say when it's my turn.
I am coherent.
I am concise enough to avoid boring my listeners.
I refer to what has already been said, to clarify or to add something new.
I make my disagreement known without being disagreeable.
I provide examples to help my listeners understand.
I back up my opinions with well reasoned arguments.

The children are assessed continually, so it is important that there are activities during which I can adopt a passive 'observer' role.

Remi Casteres

This page has been translated from French by Andreas Theodorou.




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summary > school > cycle 3

Last Update :04/28/05