Background to Talk for Writing
Talk for Writing is now a proven approach in primary schools that is engaging and motivating for pupils and teachers alike. Where it has been applied systematically for several years, writing results have risen significantly.
The potential of Talk for Writing in primary schools is summed up by this quotation:
“Talk for Writing is a whole-school philosophy to teaching and learning that will catalyse improvement and raise aspirations across the school. Its impact is felt in every area of the school from the humdrum of the school's data to the vibrancy of the learning environments, excitement in the classroom atmosphere and the tangible buzz in the staff-room and renewed enthusiasm for a profession and moral purpose we all believe in passionately.”
James Munt, Executive Headteacher, Front Lawn Academy, Havant
The Talk for Writing process
Talk for Writing is built on the best of best practice with a particular focus on the centrality of oracy to effective learning and thinking. The underpinning process is illustrated below:
This can be adapted to suit the needs of all curriculum areas pupils of different ages and attainment.
To help pupils internalise the patterns of language required for any unit in English or any topic or subject across the curriculum, teachers are shown how to use focused talk, based on model text (or model processes) related to curriculum needs. This familiarises pupils with the appropriate patterns of language before they attempt to write anything down or apply a process. At the same time, there is significant emphasis on the vocabulary needed for every unit to enable pupils to rapidly expand their vocabulary. This supports reading because familiarity with the pattern of language and vocabulary is key to becoming a fluent reader and, of course, the more you read, the better your vocabulary and your understanding of the pattern of language becomes. The approach moves from imitating text or processes orally to analysing them so that once the imitiated text has been fully comprehended, pupils look, via a boxing-up process, at how something is structured, and then at the ingredients that create it. This enables pupils to co-construct the toolkit that can help them create their own versions. Pupils are then shown how to innovate on the model so that, over time, they can become independent effective writers. Pupils progressively build up their linguistic competence and understanding thus creating a flexible approach that can be applied to any language task as well as aiding practical application.
Because Talk for Writing includes developing a consistent way of analysing and presenting model text or processes, as appropriate to the demands of different genre in English or different subjects across the curriculum, the learner can see how what they learn in one area can be transferred to support learning in another
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