At the beginning of this year Team One was looking at the importance of oral language and we participated in an oral language workshops run by the Speech Language Therapists team Korero Manaiakalani. The philosophy behind the workshop was to increase oral language skills to "impact wellbeing, participation, learning and achievement."
Through using the "Strive For Five" skills, I have become more conscious of the impact of purposeful conversations, quality vocabulary, commenting not questioning and correctly modelling sentences. This is especially important to keep these skills in mind when introducing new concepts to the children.
Two of the SSCAN techniques that I found very successful are wait time and validating. Giving children "thinking time" has resulted in some surprisingly thoughtful comments from children. It has given them time to organise their thoughts and communicate them successfully. The children are also learning that "thinking time" or silences are acceptable. We don't have to fill all silences with further comments while we wait for responses.
Validating children's comments by repeating or reaffirming what a child said is powerful in showing a child that their comments are valued. Another method that is powerful is to say the child's name. It shows we recognise who has made a valued comment.
Korero Manaiakalani has been a very practical way of helping children become more confident communicators. I have found the skills are practical to implement within a class setting as well as in groups and it has been exciting to see how important oral language is in helping children become more confident learners. Good oral skills gives a child a sense of well being and a happy, confident child is ready to participate in their learning.