A study of oral language use in a grade three classroom: implications of a systematic approach
Simpson Schwartz, Lisa
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Oral communication is a vital component of the learning process. Research demonstrates that children benefit from engaging in oral interactions with their peers and, through such interactions, can co-construct knowledge and develop deeper understandings of issues being explored. Currently, however, it can be argued that talk is undervalued in our educational system and little effort is made to focus teaching in this area. The research outlined in this thesis explores the impact of a focus on oral communication skills in a grade 3 classroom. Making use of ongoing assessment and explicit instruction, a systematic approach to instruction was implemented, over a five month period, with tracking of both feasibility and effects. The intention was also to create a community of learners in the classroom, through students' increased use of collaborative, exploratory, and accountable talk. Interventions attempted to address both social and cognitive aspects of classroom talk. The results of the study demonstrate that the impact of the interventions was complex and appeared to be affected by the initial socio-cognitive profiles of the individual children involved. Discussion is provided of the implications of these results for various stakeholders.