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GCSE English speaking and listening confidence

Discussion in 'English' started by danielmstanley, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. danielmstanley

    danielmstanley New commenter

    Once more, I hang my head in shame as I enter data for a middle ability group. They manage to scrape some 'C's in written assessments, but a good number of them don't produce the goods when they do a S&L assessment. Some of the kids happily chat away to their friends socially or in the classroom, but when required to do something more formal they go very quiet and under perform. I've tried putting shy individuals together to avoid domination but they simply look at each other in nervous embarrassment.

    This happens every year. On paper, I look like I'm really bad at teaching S&L, and yet I've innovated and produced resources that have won me praise from colleagues. I get criticised for assessing harshly, and yet when I blind assess using an exam board DVD, I'm sometimes too generous.

    Any advice on how to bring out the best in students with low confidence would be appreciated.
  2. Lidnod

    Lidnod Star commenter

    Start in Year 7! In Year 10 share the mark scheme with them - be specific about how they can achieve and what you are expecting. The next lesson, give them written feedback, showing where they have matched the mark scheme criteria. Make sure there will be another opportunity and tell those who underachieved that this is their chance... You probably do all this anyway [​IMG]
  3. anteater

    anteater New commenter

    I agree with lidnod that s and l needs to be embedded right from the start. Our very first task in Y7 is to produce a speech to welcome the Y6s to the school open evening and persuade them why they should come to our school (The winner actually gets to perform on the evening!)
    I do think we sometimes expect kids to be able to do the speaking component without actually teaching them how. I've just spent half a term with my Y9 group trying to get them to speak without being too reliant on notes, and, if they speak to a presentation, they are allowed barely any words on the slides at all.
    I'm usually ok with the presentation and the discussion strands - it is the role play that seems to cause my groups difficulty. Maybe that is because that is the part I myself would find difficult and embarrassing and it rubs off on them!
  4. Lidnod

    Lidnod Star commenter

    Totally agree about practice, fishtail. I ask for different responses to the class register, to get them going e.g. (like you) answer using an alliterating adjective, or answer in a very formal/informal way not repeating any previous response, which instantly sets up the expectation that all will contribute. And I think that if you start with the youngest students at the school, then by the time they get to Year 10, speaking up is not so intimidating. However, in my school the students are often very supportive of each other when they know it is a GCSE speaking and listening task and I can use that to advantage, so although I do sometimes stealthily catch them speaking effectively, at other times I might set up a more formal situation in which everyone is absolutely clear about their role and what they have to do to achieve the relevant grade.
  5. I've been following the thread with interest, and sympathise with all the people who are finding it hard to get their students to talk. I've been there many many times over the last 20 years!
    I'm now working as an Outreach Coordinator for an organisation which focuses on global citizenship and development issues. I go into local schools and work with GCSE students to help them develop their confidence in expressing themselves orally. I link it as best I can to the S & L assessment criteria so that students who do well can get a GCSE S & L grade out of it. (I totally agree that it's not always necessary to tell students that you are 'formally' assessing them...!)
    Anyway, I often use topics of contemporary interest to get the students talking, and we follow organisations on Twitter who direct us towards interesting newspaper articles which can act as stimulus for S & L work. I've got some fantastic S & L work, for example, out of articles on the I'm a Celebrity... charity 'Malaria No More UK', and on Show Racism the Red Card... (I also totally agree that it works well to focus on cross-curricular issues, and to start practising as early as possible in Year 7...)
    So, would it be useful to anyone if I identified a few articles every week, and tweeted the links from our Twitter account to a hashtag e.g. #S&Ltopics or something..??
    Let me know if it would help.

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