How emphasising oracy had a profound impact at one school

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In the last of a three-part series, Oli de Botton argues that focusing on discussion, debate and storytelling over detention can have huge benefits for pupils and the wider school community

How oracy can impact your school

A recent conversation with a usually supportive parent went something like this: “Mr de Botton, I don’t want all that talking this time. Just put him in detention.”

“He will be held back, yes, but he will also need to reflect on what has happened and articulate a way forward. This is part of the restoration process.”

“Well, OK, but he needs to get the message.”

The parent was exasperated. For her, talk was the opposite of action.

This episode highlights a wider critique of the oracy agenda. Does the extra time spent on dialogue amount to anything more than nice chats? Is it better suited ...

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