Review by Gerry Robinson

Executive headteacher, Haringey Learning Partnership

12 Mar 2022, 5:00


Gerry Robinson’s blogs of the week, 7 March 2022

Why oracy should be a vital component of any careers programme


In the age of social media, it’s easy to overlook the fact that oracy is a skill that can and should be explicitly taught to our students. Not so at Voice 21, whose latest blog is timed to coincide with National Careers Week and highlights that “oracy is a hugely valued skill in the workplace”.

In alternative provision, many of our young people come to us feeling disaffected with education and hopeless about their prospects. Very often, it is through verbal communication that we start to rebuild their confidence and aspirations, so this blog really resonated with me.

The post advocates the use of their oracy framework, which benchmarks effective oracy according to four strands: cognition, physical, linguistic, and social and emotional. Steering well clear of the hackneyed phrase ‘transferable skills’, Voice 21 makes a strong case for the practice and development of oracy as a powerful foundation for communication, increasing students’ chances of nabbing their ideal job and scaling the career ladder.

How reading can affect behaviour

@EdHuwcation via @CPI_Ed

Marking 25 years of World Book Day, Huw Lloyd’s post for the Crisis Prevention Institute, written just prior to the event, explores how instilling a love of reading can be a powerful means of addressing student behaviour.

His rationale is based on anecdotal evidence but makes perfect sense: students who, through reading, are given the vocabulary and support to communicate are more likely to engage in lessons. When things go wrong, they have the tools to express their concerns appropriately.

Here, Lloyd shares his experience as a trainer visiting schools up and down the country and seeing how WBD can be done. His suggestions of book swaps and ‘show and tell’ involving governors, staff, parents/carers and students are mostly straightforward for any school to try out, and all centre a love of reading.

He also shares some reservations about WBD. Like him, I am not staunchly opposed to dressing up, but the focus sometimes feels like it has shifted too far towards gimmicks and away from what really matters: encouraging young people to pick up a book.

Educating for a peaceful world


As a school leader, it is sometimes hard to know the right words to say to anxious students and staff when the news is a never-ending loop of horror and suffering. Sometimes it feels like there’s too much to address, but it is crucial that we do.

As a historian as well as a headteacher, Gemma Gibson has written a useful blog for times like this, which perfectly balances logos and pathos, giving space to our valid distress without succumbing to panic and hysteria. Her context as the head of an independent 7-18 girls’ school that delivers the international baccalaureate means her solutions aren’t relevant to every school, but the goals for which she advocates are universal.

For those unsure how to support their community through unfolding global events, or those seeking reassurance that they are on the right track, this post is an ideal starting point.

Understanding equality in light of gender bias in society


Above & Beyond Education founder Alison Kriel explores how gender bias is embedded in our lives from birth and the impact this has on our road to an equitable society.

Kriel emphasises the importance of addressing gender bias in early years settings as research shows that by the age of three children have already developed ideas about how boys and girls should act, dress and exist. She goes on to explain how these deeply embedded stereotypes can follow young people throughout school and into the working world.

Describing the issue of gender bias as “a lifetime of subliminal messages”, Kriel highlights that a lot of gender-biased thinking is so subtle as to go unnoticed and argues that schools need to examine whether their practices are reinforcing or challenging this.

In light of International Women’s Day and National Careers Week, this is a must-read this week.

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