The need to teach oracy skills is increasingly being recognised. Ahead of the Oracy Matters conference, Dr Neil Mercer and Dr Lyn Dawes consider how schools can deliver the two distinct strands of this work – ‘learning how to talk’ and ‘learning through talk’
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The skills of speaking and listening (oracy for short) might seem to come naturally to young people. When they first arrive at school, we expect them to be ready to speak and listen.

But how well can each child speak and listen? And by the time they reach secondary school, what oracy skills have they acquired in their young lives? What differences are there among them? Students are never the same for any set of skills – and a new class of year 7s might arrive with very different “oracy profiles”.

And what exactly are the skills teachers hope to rely on in their students – can we identify “listening skills” and “speaking skills”? How will these enable students to make the most of their education?

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