Voice 21 Speaks Out

Rather than simply leave it in the reply section to my previous post Oracy is the New Black Pudding, I am happy to fully post comments from Director of Voice 21, Beccy Earnshaw, here.

It is reassuring to read the detailed aims and objectives of Voice 21 regarding oracy, and I of course fully endorse them.

As a regular blogger on education issues that still matter to me, I am pleased to at least have a response, and one that is informed – and persuasive – rather than dismissive or just flippant!

I will read the further details Beccy has highlighted from Voice 21, and I will continue to follow reporting on this issue and challenge misrepresentations, as I did in my article when referring to ‘education commentators’:

Hi Mike
I read your blog with interest and as Director of Voice 21, I wanted to reassure you that we do not define oracy as the ‘art of teaching children how to speak well’ – those are the words of the journalist not Voice 21. On our website you will find our oracy charter which outlines our beliefs re. oracy (https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2c80ff_ccd5718b6ca84a74b0eaefcd8ee01f14.pdf

Voice 21 Oracy Charter
– Oracy is the capacity to use speech to express our thoughts and communicate with others
as outlined in the four strands of the Oracy Framework.(the Framework was devised with Neil Mercer and team at Cambridge University and can be found here https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2c80ff_1c4bb315fb26438b9eaa2fc4899bafe6.pdf)
– Teaching improves oracy and oracy improves teaching and learning.
– Effective oracy teaching and learning is purposeful, scaffolded and structured to deepen understanding and develop critical thinking.
– Children and young people should become agile communicators who learn to navigate
the expectations for oracy in different contexts through the provision of a wide
and varied curriculum.
– Oracy is the responsibility of every teacher and the entitlement of every child

You might also be interested in this research we commissioned last year which explores this in more depth https://docs.wixstatic.com/ugd/2c80ff_91a02276fdf645d2b70ad433049306a3.pdf or this blog (there are some short videos on this site too) https://www.edutopia.org/blog/oracy-literacy-of-spoken-word-oli-de-botton or this essay in the ESU’s Speaking Frankly publication https://www.esu.org/__data/assets/pdf_file/0025/13795/ESU-Speaking-Frankly.pdf

I am sorry you could not find more details about our aims and work on the website – it is all there on links from the homepage but we will review the site to ensure people can find this info more easily. If you want to see the kind of approaches we promote you can have a look through our resources on http://www.voice21resources.org

Finally, I totally agree with your points on oracy not being something new (many of the approaches we use have their roots in Ancient Greece!), however as the polling we conducted with teachers and school leaders found, most schools are not giving oracy the focus (we believe) it deserves for a variety of reasons (these are explored in the research) and we want to support teacher and schools to put a greater emphasis on oracy and increase the quality and quantity of dialogue within classrooms.
Do get in touch if you would like to discuss any aspect of our work,
Many thanks
Beccy

1 thought on “Voice 21 Speaks Out

  1. Pingback: Gnomes of Oracy | mikeandenglish

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