Teaching oral language
Oral language is fundamental to learning and thinking. It has many different functions and comprises many elements.
We use oral language to communicate and comprehend in a range of situations and for many purposes, including to:
- question and solve problems
- make inferences
- imagine, explore and understand ideas
- organise experiences and knowledge
- express and clarify thoughts, feelings and opinions.
Through oral language experiences, students build a vocabulary, semantic knowledge and syntactic knowledge that form the foundation for reading and writing.
In the early years, students acquire most of what they know about oral language by listening and speaking with their families, peers and teachers.
Effective teaching of oral language enables students to become confident communicators, who speak and listen appropriately for a range of purposes in many personal, social and learning contexts.
Effective teaching of oral language in the Learning Areas provides planned opportunities for students to develop their speaking and listening competencies, through explicit teaching of:
These five aspects of oral language are connected. Effective oral language users bring together the skills and knowledge of each aspect when speaking and listening for different purposes. Each aspect is of equal importance, although effective teachers may make choices about emphasis, depending on the year level and language of their students.