Reflective Summary: To Use e-learning as a tool to improve children’s oral language skills.

School Type

St Joseph’s Pleasant Point is a rural catholic school 15 minutes North West of Timaru with a roll of 81.

Cluster

We are a part of the Aoraki Rural cluster which includes 10 other schools from around South Canterbury. All cluster schools have identified a "Teaching as Inquiry" focus for their 2011 ICT PLD.

Each school's inquiry question focuses on how ICT Tools, strategies and thinking can be used in teaching and learning to improve student achievement in a selected aspect of learning. Within each school the lead teachers used this focus to complete a "Teaching as Inquiry" to then lead the rest of their staff through the process.

 

Intentions

A strong school wide focus was placed on oral language skills this year due to our school production in Term 3 in which all children were involved, the senior school speech trophy competition in Term 2 and a planned trip to Arowhenua Marae in Term 4 where children will be expected to share their Mihi Mihi.  I also wanted to address a lack of expression and fluency with a specific reading group in my classroom.  Therefore the focus of this inquiry plan was to improve the children’s oral language skills through the use of ICT, specifically using voice recording and video.  The end outcome is for children to increase in confidence when speaking in public through improvement and development of their oral language skills.  This research plan was preceded by one which focussed on the student’s pronunciation, understanding and presentation of their Mihi in Term 2.  A NEMP oral language assessment task was adapted to provide base line data for both student and teacher assessment.  The students were video taped as part of this assessment before self, peer and teacher evaluations were completed.  The students were then asked to identify strengths, weaknesses and set specific goals for their learning.  The intention was for students to focus on achieving their goals through a variety of oral language tasks.  For the majority of students speaking in front of large groups can be a nerve wracking experience and often results in a very fast, expressionless, often garbled and difficult to follow presentation.  Having specific and creative opportunities in a supportive and reflective environment to develop their skills has created a real desire for students to improve in their oral language particularly in terms of expression, pace and volume. 

 

Impact On The Students

 An increase in confidence has been particularly evident especially in terms of expression and enthusiasm when reading aloud or presenting plays etc.  The students have focussed strongly on their goals and worked determinedly towards achieving them.  Viewing themselves on video has been a powerful experience as has the opportunity to review other students work and compare with their own ‘performance’.  They are now more aware of aspects of their oral language such as pace and volume and valuable discussions with their peers have taken place as they worked on and shared activities such as Photostories or reviewing their videoed performances.  A number of students have actively sought opportunities to use and or improve their oral language skills by volunteering to speak at assemblies or lead prayers.  Students have also been observed practising plays, Mihi, speeches and their production lines in the play ground at break times with an ‘audience’ of peers who are providing critical feedback, advice and encouragement.  The second oral language survey also reflected a significant increase in confidence and readiness to undertake opportunities to speak in group, class, school and public situations.  The students are more self aware of their oral language skills and how to speak effectively

Next Steps

Our next steps are to use videoing as a regular classroom tool in order to enhance and create opportunities for learning across a range of experiences and curriculum areas.   This could include many curriculum areas, for example reading, experiences such as practising for school mass or prayer readings, and skills such as contributing to or taking a specific role in a co operative group activity. 

Teachers are also beginning to use video as a tool to improve and enhance their own practise and self reflection.  An example of this is the videoing and analysis of a numeracy lesson against specific criteria with the assistance of a mathematics advisor from the University of Canterbury.  This is the beginning of an ongoing process intended to promote and achieve best teaching practise.