Oral language - we think we teach it.

We all learn about reading and writing. We all speak. We teach reading and writing – and have had great training, and the confidence to teach these. Oral language – we think we teach it, and we teach the best we can – news stories, talking circles, peer-share, and rhymes – but when have we ever learned about how to teach oral language, to teach hearing and speaking? Never. We teach speech making but not speaking. It is the most under-taught area of PD and in the classroom. 

Finally, we have professional learning that helps us to unlock the mystery of oral language. Without the foundation of excellent oral language, the rest has the potential to really go wrong. Get the foundations right. Slow down and do this first. 

Arnna Graham

Director of learning

Bringing clarity to our thinking

As Kāhui Ako Lead Principal I find Bronwyn is focused on the vision and strategic plan of the Kāhui Ako and within that, adapts to work successfully and specifically with individual kura according to their current need. She approaches this by unpacking the needs and desires of kura within the scope of work (often knowing things you will need to address before you recognise it yourself)

Bronwyn brings clarity to your thinking. She is good at what she does. Bronwyn listens, challenges, and walks beside you as a school and Kahui Ako leader from where you are at on your journey. She is experienced and has a depth of knowledge that allows her to adapt, support the direction school leadership chooses to take, and ensure that all support is tailor made to affect change in practice for kaiako that positively impacts student learning outcomes.

Angela Main

Lead Principal, Waihi Kahui Ako

Sharing the same learning language

Based on assessment data, we recognised the need for oral language development for our learners and that it required a collective responsibility for all of our staff. EDconnect was able to tailor Professional Development for our unique staff that consists of all learning area teachers, outdoor instructors, and coaches.

First, we were supported with the assessment data analysis, helped to refine training session priorities, facilitated PLD sessions for all staff, provided pre-readings and followed up with additional opportunities for training and optional workshops for staff to attend. The session was very useful for both teaching and non-teaching staff to have a shared understanding of developmental stages and practical learner-centred and responsive strategies. 

It gave the staff a common language to use with learners and each other and many staff began to apply what they learnt in their own contexts of learning, whether it was supporting oral language development in a Maths classroom, in a rock-climbing briefing or in a restorative conversation.

Asha Tupou-Vea

Acting Head of Dilworth Rural Campus

Exploring ‘Engaging Conversations’

Children learn language through social relationships: the way they listen to and speak with others while engaged in activities together. Bronwyn worked with a group of our teachers exploring a developmental sequence that identifies the abstract language a child can understand and use. We explored ways to modify our own communication to ensure all students understand the linguistic demands that we place on them.

One aspect of the session that created enthusiastic conversation was the sharing of a research-based tool that adapts any topic or lesson to engage and extend all learners, across the curriculum. Oral language and communication are fundamental for developing foundational skills for learning often missing in literacy and play-based programmes. 

Zac Taylor

Principal Waihi East School

Collaboration in practice

We have been fortunate to have EDconnect facilitator Bronwyn Weston work with our Year 7 & 8 team. In collaboration with us, Bronwyn developed a facilitated course, tailored to our identified needs. 

Bronwyn improved and consolidated our own knowledge to support teaching and learning. She helped us become clearer about what students need to learn and what has been learnt. Bronwyn provided a variety of examples, practical resources and strategies to align with identified needs. 

She maintained good communication with us throughout the year, responding to feedback and providing feedforward to our team.  Thank you EDconnect for your continued support and help.

Jennifer Cochrane

Year 7&8 Lead, Waihi College