At Holy Innocents’ we place a high emphasis on respecting others and one of the ways we focus as a whole school on this target is through promoting good speaking and listening skills. We wish for our children to become articulate learners who can engage confidently in discussions with their peers and within their classes. Our classrooms are promoted as safe spaces where children are encouraged to share opinions and to listen politely to others.
Express opinions and articulate feelings clearly
As a Catholic school, we value the opinions of others and treat others with respect. From Reception, children are taught to engage with adults and children appropriately and respectfully in a variety of ways. Children are encouraged to share opinions in partners, small group and whole class discussions and are taught the key principles of maintaining conversations in a polite manner. Our teachers model good manners and conversational techniques when speaking with children and other adults and our youngest children are expected to model this for themselves during play and in class.
Participate confidently with different groups of children within class and across the school
At Holy Innocents’, we are fortunate to have dedicated members of staff and children that lead great discussions around school. In class, children are expected to engage in peer and class talk during all subject areas but Guided Reading and RE/RSHE are subjects which particularly encourage deep discussions. Across school, children have the opportunity to involve themselves within the School Council, fundraising teams, Prefect roles and much more that encourages them to work together as peers. When performing these tasks, children are able to engage with different year groups across the school and have opportunities to focus on their speaking and listening skills in a variety of ways. Lastly, Holy Innocents’ places a great emphasis on pupil voice and recently we have been using class and Key Stage assemblies to explore topic issues and debates such as school uniform and learning at home. During these discussions, children are prompted to respect others’ opinions and engage in appropriate manner.
Use spoken language to enhance learning
We believe that great writing stems from engaging in discussions with peers and adults. In EYFS, adults will use expression and actions to enable children to understand difficult vocabulary and will focus on speaking and listening skills in Phonics lessons, particularly. As children progress through school, teachers will use higher-level and sophisticated vocabulary to push children to expand their speaking and writing skills. Subject specific vocabulary is also embedded throughout the curriculum through clear displays and focus in class. Contextual learning helps children to understand new words and supports them in including them in their work.
Speak audibly and confidently in front of an audience
At Holy Innocents’, there are many opportunities for drama and role play. We believe that all children are capable of performance and allow equal opportunities for all to access this throughout the year. Reception children are encouraged to explore their imaginations during small world play and through class drama activities that enable their spoken word to flourish. Throughout the rest of the school, much emphasis is placed on drama within the curriculum to deepen understanding and there are multiple class and whole school opportunities for performing. Throughout the school year, each year group will be expected to perform a class assembly as well as a class Liturgy for parents. Furthermore, all children will take part in the Harvest Festival, Christmas Productions and Year 6 will perform a Summer Production. Lastly, all children are provided with opportunities to involve themselves within our Church community and have the chance to read or perform during Mass.
When they leave Holy Innocents’, we hope we will have inspired all children to become confident speakers and listeners and that we have instilled appropriate manners and values within our pupils. In a safe and encouraging environment, children develop into confident communicators who illuminate the goodness in each other by listening, speaking with kindness and empathy and explaining with clarity and confidence. Children recognise that speaking and listening can lie at the heart of conveying character, and that through speaking and listening effectively, misunderstandings cab be addressed, and relationships enhanced.