‘Talk to Learn’ Programme


The ’Talk to Learn’ is a one-year programme that is focused on the educational theory and evidence based-practice of the promotion of  oracy in the classroom through the ‘Thinking Together’ model created by Professor Neil Mercer at the University of Cambridge and developed with great  success at President Kennedy School, as validated by CUREE, The Centre for the Use of Research and Evidence in Education.  

The  programme will initially explore the academic research and theories of Professor Mercer centred on the importance of developing the effective use of ‘student talk’ in the classroom and the significance and potential    impact of enabling the journey from disputational talk, in which students make decisions in isolation of others or in a competitive environment,  through cumulative talk, which builds  students’ ability to share knowledge uncritically, to exploratory talk, where students express and challenge ideas in an atmosphere of trust and with a sense of shared purpose, thus deepening learning. 

The programme will then  provide practitioners and leaders with a framework for the development of oracy within the curriculum, through the ‘Talking Points’ programme embedded at President Kennedy School and implemented across a wide range of schools regionally as a result of the Strategic School Improvement Fund Project, in which System Leaders from the President Kennedy Teaching School Alliance have supported schools in improving student outcomes.   This will include practical strategies for curriculum development, the training of  students to ’interthink’ through establishing group work protocols with an emphasis on student metacognition, in addition to assessing impact through the use of Cambridge Oracy Assessments. 

The programme will be led by Senior Leaders and Specialist Leaders of Education from within the President Kennedy Teaching School Alliance and will offer the opportunity for participants to observe ‘Talking Points’ in action in the classroom through lesson observation, learning walks, student voice and work scrutiny.  The opportunity will also be provided to participants to engage in  collaborative planning and delivery in their own school setting.

'Talk to Learn' helps school leaders and practitioners to;

  • Develop the effective use of ‘student talk’ in the classroom, enabling the transition from disputational talk to exploratory talk to deepen learning
  • Develop practical strategies for curriculum development and the training of students to ’interthink’ , through establishing group work protocols with an emphasis on student metacognition
  • Assess impact through the effective use of Cambridge Oracy Assessments

Programme Session Schedule 2018-19

07.11.2018 2.30pm-5.30pm

From a monologic classroom to a dialogic classroom & Effective Group Work through Talking Points

13.02.2019 2.30pm-5.30pm

Owning the process


On the ground – Theory into practice – SLE Coaching Sessions in delegate school

29.04.2019 10.05.2019                                                                                                                                            

On the ground – Theory into practice – SLE Coaching Sessions in delegate school


Scaling Up ­– Embedding a whole school approach to effective oracy in the classroom – Senior Leader and Oracy Team Meetings

Email: teachingschool@pks.coventry.sch.uk to secure places