Oral language interventions emphasise the importance of spoken language and verbal interaction in the classroom. They are based on the idea that comprehension and reading skills benefit from explicit discussion of either the content or processes of learning, or both. Oral language approaches include:
Oral language interventions aim to support learners’ articulation of ideas and spoken expression. Oral language interventions therefore have some similarity to approaches based on Metacognition which make talk about learning explicit in classrooms, and to Collaborative learning approaches which promote pupils’ talk and interaction in groups (such as Thinking Together).
There is an extensive evidence base on the impact of oral language interventions, including a substantial number of meta-analyses and systematic reviews. The evidence is relatively consistent, suggesting that oral language interventions can be successful in a variety of environments. Although the majority of the evidence relates to younger children, there is also clear evidence that older learners, and particularly disadvantaged pupils, can benefit.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
How can you help pupils to make their learning explicit through verbal expression?
How will you match the oral language activities to learners’ current stage of development, so that it extends their learning and connects with the curriculum?
What training should the adults involved receive to ensure they model and develop pupils’ oral language skills?
If you are using technology, how will you ensure that pupils talk about their learning and interact with each other effectively?