Talking is just an important a skill to learn as reading and writing to combat the image of the “grunting, monosyllabic teenager”, a leading headteacher and former senior adviser to Tony Blair says today.Hurrah! Is this finally a bid to erase the street-dialect-speaking, slang-slinging, Jafrican-accented suburban white kid?
“Speaking eloquently is a moral issue because to find your own voice both literally and metaphorically and be able to communicate your ideas and your passions is crucial to how they [young people] are going to be a success in the world,” he said.
“If you can speak and articulate yourself properly that will happen.”Hallelujah!
He said that some people believed “the silent classroom is the good classroom” when in reality it meant “the death of learning, unless there’s a particular reason for it”.
He said he liked to go round classrooms in his school and hear children talking to each other, discussing things, debating and questioning.
“High quality talk” was at the centre of his school’s day - from morning assembly to round table classroom discussions with the spoken word “built into the DNA of the school”.As long as it is high quality talk, and not meaningless babble about the latest reality show or school gossip, then fine. Good luck finding an OFSTED inspector who can look up from his ticksheet & judge the difference, though...
Janine Ryan, of the English-Speaking Union, which has run 50 workshops in schools under the theme “discover your voice”, said: “If the young people are silent, it doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to say... it can be that no-one has ever asked them for their opinions before.”I find that hard to believe - aren't they consulted on every tiny thing nowadays?