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This ‘Introduce Me’ activity is a fun and rewarding way to introduce a new topic, while developing language skills.

It’s ideally suited to learners of English, allowing them to hear knowledge  presented in different ways, by more than one source, in a non-threatening environment. There’s plenty of opportunity for repetition and rephrasing. This is an adaptable activity to suit any topic where you need to introduce content. This particular example is based on trading goods (see References), but a blank template is provided for you to create your own resource.

The downloadable history cards allow children to take on the role of different ‘goods’ traded by the East India Company or the Hudson’s Bay Company from the 1600s. The children, pretending to be ‘goods’, must meet each other and present themselves in their roles.

The activity uses the ‘Introduce Me’ technique: the children read, memorise and represent information to others, who may then present this themselves to new audiences. Full instructions are provided on the downloadable resource.

Collaborative learning = oracy in curriculum content

Collaborative learning:
- makes challenging curriculum accessible
- improves social relations in the classroom
- provides scaffolding for exploratory talk

If you can't talk it through with others, you won't be able to write it confidently!

Collaborative Talk for Learning

We are Collaborative Learning – a network of teachers who develop and disseminate ‘talk for learning’ activities across all subject areas and for all ages. You can find out more about us by clicking here

Our activities are based around the skill of ‘oracy’ – a word originally coined by Andrew Wilkinson, author of Spoken English. Andrew felt that ‘oracy’ matched ‘literacy’ as a skill to be nurtured and developed. He argued that the opportunity to develop confidence in speaking and listening was lacking from the state education system. More recently, research has revealed the importance of the role of talk in developing literacy and in building neurological pathways in the brain.

To encourage oracy, we’ve helped to develop collaborative group work in schools both in the UK and abroad. We started in classrooms where children didn’t possess the cultural capital or the skills to conduct conversations about the curriculum. Many of them, in addition, were learning English at the same time as acquiring curriculum knowledge.

Our activities help children conduct a discussion around a curriculum topic. Children learn to listen carefully to what others have to say and to respond in an articulate and persuasive way. Here’s an explanation of just how our role-play, hot-seating and ‘Introduce me’ activities work: Click here

At Collaborative Learning, we integrate oracy with curriculum knowledge. Here’s an example of how that works in practice, with a resource which we hope you’ll find useful.

Trade role-play cards example

In the resource, you’ll find a set of downloadable cards allowing children to take on the role of different ‘goods’ traded by the East India Company or the Hudson’s Bay Company from the 1600s. The children, pretending to be ‘goods’, must meet each other and present themselves in their roles.

The activity uses the ‘Introduce Me’ technique: the children read, memorise and represent information to others, who may then present this themselves to new audiences. In the process, the information is transformed into personal knowledge.

The activity is particularly helpful for children who are in the early stages of learning English. They’re able to hear knowledge presented in different ways, by more than one source, in a non-threatening environment. There is opportunity for repetition and rephrasing, further developing language skills.

It’s important to note that the role-play cards found in the resource are historically based: they reference events and practices from the past, such as slavery. You can create your own, customisable role-play card by downloading our template resource.

Collaborate with us!

Our collaborative activities are fluid and flexible. Teachers share them on the network for others to use: they can be tweaked to suit your particular curriculum and language development needs. Above all, they’re designed to promote and scaffold purposeful talk and sustained shared thinking.

We hope that you will join our network and contribute your collaborative work for others in turn. You’ll be in good company – there’s a new interest in oracy and group-work nationally, which we trust will grow and strengthen. For more information on initiatives such as the Cambridge oracy network, the English and Media Centre (which promotes group work) and Partnership Teaching (which encourages teachers to work together to devise resources and share good practice), see our Links page.

References:

KS2 National Curriculum: the curriculum requires pupils aged 7-11 years to study ‘an aspect of British history that extends…chronological knowledge beyond 1066’. The activity in this resource focuses on ‘trade’ post-1066. It also anticipates the KS3 curriculum theme of ‘ideas, political power, industry and empire’ (for 11-15-year-olds).

Wilkinson, A (1965), Spoken English, University of Birmingham

Research underpinning Collaborative Learning resources: click here

Further learning - Blog

Felt pens
Created: Tue 19th Jun 2018

Marking and feedback is a crucial part of any teacher’s workload, and is essential for EAL learners. The importance of good-quality marking and feedback has been evidenced by many academic professionals, notably William & Black (1998) and, more recently, William (2018) and Hattie (2012). Hattie discusses the idea of rigorous approaches to marking and feedback, stating that through assessing learners, teachers themselves learn about their own impact: “As a professional, it is critical to know they impact.

Created: Thu 2nd Nov 2017

In my experience, teachers often have quite strong feelings about the use of a pupil’s L1 (first language) in the classroom - it is either encouraged or forbidden. Garcia and Sylvan (2011) describe monolingual education as outdated in our current ‘globalized’ world and discourage the practise of imposing only one language. In fact, they suggest that teachers should support students in developing their awareness of their first language as well as the language of instruction.

Created: Mon 24th Feb 2014

How can the new-to-English language learners and their teachers work together to provide a successful language learning experience when curriculum content is the priority? Rubin & Thompson (1982) researched and found 14 characteristics of a good language learner.

If each characteristic of a good language learner can be developed for young learners into a ‘child friendly’  question, translated into their mother tongue (maybe orally) and unpicked, question by question, each characteristic can act as a guide for learners to try out new strategies.