Oracy: Part 2

Courtesy of the Reading Sage, who is a wonderful resource for a wide range of links related to language and literacy.

Oracy: The Literacy of the Spoken Word | Edutopia
Teaching oracy is instrumental to better reading and, in particular, writing. In developmental terms, humans acquire oral language first — a …

Developing oracy skills | Class Teaching
Some simple strategies that can be tried out to develop oracy skills: … number of oracybased teaching ideas – developing dialogue toolkit.

Why teach oracy? | University of Cambridge
Through our own research and that of others, we know there are some very effective ways of teaching oracy skills, which are already used by …

Oracy Assessment Toolkit : Faculty of Education
In recent years, there has been a growing recognition of the need to help young people develop their abilities to use spoken language effectively. Employers …


Deep Listening. Especially Important for Learning

Deep Listening

Posted to Dialogue on Oct 20 16



Amy Heusterberg-Richards , ELA Teacher – High School

Posted 10/01/2016 9:01PM | Last Commented 10/07/2016 8:41PM

Deep Listening Activities for Academic Discussions

A short excerpt:

“Deep listening is a technique beautifully rooted in American traditions like the Quaker faith and various Native tribes. At its core, deep listening entails listening over hearing and connecting over responding. In relationships, deep listening means acknowledging others’ emotions so they feel heard. In careers, deep listening means developing productive, honest communication by listening to understand, not merely to reply. In my classroom, deep listening can mean students better know each other’s ideas and therefore better know our studies.  It can mean a more inclusive atmosphere where all voices feel respected and where moments of silence are welcome….”


Chapter 2 Getting Started with Academic Conversations from Zwiers and Crawford, Academic Conversations, 2011

This chapter begins as do the other chapters with quotes from learners or teachers:

Comment from a 6th grader:  “It was weird.  When we finished talking, we had a totally new idea.” (p. 27)

In a sense, Chapter 2 is the heart of this book.  It covers two central ideas: Conversation Norms and Core Skills for Academic Conversations.

Shared Conversation Norms.  I can’t image a more critical skill (standard) than learning how to use conversation to learn, to create ideas, to negotiate, perhaps especially as we elect new leadership in our country.  Here verbatim (from pages 30-31) are the authors’ list 7 norms:

*listen to each other

*share our own ideas and explain them

*respect one another’s ideas, even if they are different

*respectfully disagree and try to see the other view

*let others finish explaining their ides without interrupting

*try to come to some agreement in the end

*take turns and share air time

The five core skills of conversation which are explained in more detail in Chapter 3 are:

Elaborate and clarify

Support ideas with examples

Build on and/or challenge a partner’s idea


Synthesize conversation points

Real strengths of this text are the number of examples the authors provide and the extent to which it is possible to generalize these ideas to written language and across content areas.


Classroom Discussion “instruction”

This is a really nice extension of Zwier’s work on Academic Conversations posted last Tuesday.

How to Scaffold Skills for Student Discussions

You Can’t Have a Dialogue About Learning Without Back and Forth Questioning

8 Strategies To Help Students Ask Great Questions

04/14/2015, Terry Heick


This is a real wealth of resources on questioning.  Many ideas to choose from.  Applicable across grades.

A New-To-Me Resource on Preschool Language and Literacy

Articles from the Hanen Centre, Canada based.

This is a Canadian based web site for parents, preschool educators, and speech-language-pathologists focused on language and literacy development . They have a valuable variety of books/booklets, some of which are moderately expensive. But BEST OF ALL they offer a series of wonderful short articles on language and literacy, many of which I’ve printed for my own library of resources. I’ve listed a few below. Their web site is well worth checking out.


Talking to Young Children Makes a Big Difference


Promoting Language with Books


Getting Ready to Read


Teaching Children to Think


More Than ABC’s


What Makes Your Child Tick….Communication


Not For Profit Charity

“The Hanen Centre is a not-for-profit charitable organization with a difference. We are a social entrepreneur, operating our business for a clear social purpose – to enable young children to develop the best possible language and literacy skills. Founded in 1975 by Ayala Hanen Manolson, a speech-language pathologist who saw the potential of involving parents in their child’s early language intervention, The Hanen Centre is  dedicated to addressing a pressing social problem – delays in language development in young children, including children with developmental delays and autism.”


What Kind of Dialogue Promotes Learning?

Here’s an example:

Accountable Talk: Talking for Learning and Higher Order Thinking

Check out one or all of these sources on “Accountable Talk,” a term coined by Lauren Resnick and Colleagues in the 1990’s

One: Accountable Talk Sourcebook: Classroom Conversations That Work

Version 3.1, 65 pages

An excerpt from page 4:

“Accountable Talk practices are not something that spring spontaneously from students’ mouths. It takes time and effort to create an A. T. classroom environment in which this kind of talk is a valued norm….by modeling appropriate forms of discussion and by questioning, probing, and leading conversations. For example, teachers may press for clarification and explanation, require justification of proposals and challenges, recognize and challenge misconceptions, demanding evidence for claims and arguments, or interpret and “revoice” students’ statements.”



Two: Excerpts about the work of Lauren Resnick and Accountable Talk by



“Children develop cognitive strategies and effort-based beliefs about intelligence-the habits of mind associated with higher-order learning-when they are continuously pressed to raise questions and accept challenges, to find solutions that are not immediately apparent, to explain concepts, justify their reasoning, and seek information. When we do not hold children accountable for this kind of intelligent behavior, they take it as a signal that we do not think they are smart, and they often come to accept this judgment. The paradox is that children become smart by being treated as if they already were intelligent. This is a hallmark of knowledge-based constructivist pedagogy.”…..

Changes in understanding the nature of learning have pointed Resnick toward a form of instruction that she calls the “Thinking Curriculum”. This requires “instruction that is high in cognitive demand (conceptual learning, reasoning, explaining, and problem solving are engaged daily) and that is embedded in specific, challenging subject matter. Evidence has accumulated that teaching cognitive skills in the absence of specific content rarely works. It appears that thinking abilities have to develop in the course of reasoning about specific information and knowledge. At the same time, there is plenty of evidence that drilling on the facts without demands for explanation and reasoning produces fragile knowledge, which is likely to disappear once the test is over and is unlikely to transfer. A form of the Thinking Curriculum that uses guided classroom discussion of core disciplinary ideas (we call this accountable talk) apparently yields both long-term retention and transfer to other disciplines.”

Three: Accountable Talk and Content Conversations

“Lauren Resnick (1995) introduced the concept of accountable talk as a means of raising the level of academic discourse among students. Accountable talk governs the norms of academic discourse and requires that students ask for and furnish evidence to support their statements (Michaels, O’Conner, Hall, & Resnick, 2002). This ensures rigor and moves the conversation from task-oriented to concept-oriented learning…..”   Excerpt from:

Content-Area Conversations by Douglas Fisher, Nancy Frey and Carol Rothenberg

Chapter 5. Procedures for Classroom Talk


Four: and from my Pinterest site….scroll down and see “related pins”….on accountable talk


Many of these are by Michelle Steger. Here’s her board


Others are by Angie Thunker. Here’s her board




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