VIEWS & OPINIO N Oracymatt tters and

questioning lies at its heart

Comment by FELICIA JACKSON, Chair of the Learn2Think Foundation

Earlier this yearMinister for Education Nick Gibb called for a greater focus on oracy in schools, saying it was as important as writing and a

comes as no surprise to those researchers which have shown the links

between oracy and learning. Gibb said oracy was “still too often understood as ‘talking more’” when it should consist of

“purposeful, constructive

discussion that enhances understanding.” That requires both teachers and pupils to use increasing complex language and experience construction of dialogue, and it also requires pupils to develop their question asking skills. A discussion doesn’t go anywhere unless you find something out, challenge or speculate, and this is achieved through the asking of questions. This ability is the end result of a process of oracy, wherein children learn through talking, and deepening their understanding through dialogue. Education Endowment Foundation-funded research has suggested that improvements in the quality and rigour of classroom discussion can have a positive impact in both academic, social and personal terms.

According to Robin Alexander, there are five different types of ‘teaching talk’ which are appropriate at different stages of the teaching process. These are rote, recitation, instruction, discussion and dialogue. In order for discussion and dialogue to be effective however, it is important to set aside time and space within which children can explore orally, using questioning, discussion and dialogue to deepen their thinking, make connections and build on each other’s ideas.

Structured dialogue within lessons has been shown to result in 1) cognitive gains (especially in terms of results in English,Maths and Science) as well as retention of subject knowledge and the transference of reasoning skills; 2) increasingly positive attitudes towards learning, increased self-confidence and reduction in anxiety; 3) civic engagement and ability to manage difference and

For many children however, there is a huge initia challenge.

l barrier – the

challenge of speaking up in class, in being open to potential ridicule or to being ‘wrong'. The introduction of time set aside for questioning, encouraging all children to take part in the generation of questions, can help cross this barrier. Helping children understand the context of why they are learning to become good questioners and build their dialogic ability empowers them to drive their own learning forward.

The latest neuroscience research shows us that the generation of a question plays a fascinating and fundamental role in the learning brain, as it forces us to: link to prior knowledge; actively process new information by requiring effort; create and reinforce learning pathways in the brain. By actively building questioning skills, “purposeful, constructive discussion that enhances understanding” can become something children do every-day.

July/ y/Augus t 2019

rithmetic’. This ‘reading,

Music tuition is fading fast in schools - there is a critical need to establishmusic education and

nurture re talent at primary level ry

Comment by SIMON DUTTON, founder and CEO of Paritor

Recent reports have revealed that uptake in GCSE music has dropped by 23%over the past eight years, with one-fifth of schools having stopped offering the subject at GCSE altogether. Furthermore, the typical A-level music class now has just three students.

These alarming statistics beg the question, why are less students choosing to study music? Sadly, the issue is that the choice is not theirs.

There is a combination of factors to blame here, from the focus on Ebacc to the social inequality of music provision across the UK and pressure on schools to achieve exam results. This narrowed focus leaves little room for students to pursue music studies and has a detrimental effect on the appetite for studying music.

Worryingly, research from the BPI revealed that one in five primary school teachers report having no regular music lesson for their class. Sparking change with primary music educa Music tuition is fading fast in education fro

m primary level through tion

to further education. Redressing the imbalance of music in the curriculum as early as possible and instilling the value of arts subj at primary level is critical to ensure that music education survives and improves in quality and accessibility. Government support


It is up to government to endorse music education in schools and the introduction of the new music curriculum provides the ideal time to change attitudes. The development of the new model music curriculum is an opportunity to create an engaging syllabus which reflects the current interests of students and promotes the career opportunities available in the music industry.

An inspiring, inclusive music curriculum in primary schools will help to nurture talent and encourage children to see their creativity as a serious skill, as important as academic abilities. If the government leads this change and reduces the results pressure on schools, it will give teachers the assurance to focus on music as a core subject.

Making music a mainstream subj Managingmusic tuition

bject at primary level will have a

great impact on the perception of music amongst teachers and children alike and give students the confidence to pursue their musical aspirations.

Since the majority of state primary schools do not have permanent music teachers in their employment, they instead rely on music services and hubs or independent tutors for music provision. Primary schools therefore require a system to manage this relationship and maintain students’ tuition records. However, a combination of stretched administration staff and outdated back office systems mean most schools struggle to maintain this relationship. Primary schools need straightforward digital tools in place to manage tuition and the finances from parents.Without this, it becomes doubly challenging to organise lessons, track children’s progress and ultimately ensure a consistent music education. Puttingmusic education centre stage

The value of learning music and the professional opportunities available must all be taken seriously as early as possible in a child’s education. To do this, primary schools need government support and the right digital tools to organise reliable, high-quality music tuition.

www .education-toda 25

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