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Last Updated: Tuesday, 4 November, 2003, 11:13 GMT
TV children taught how to talk
Primary classroom
Every primary school in England is to be sent the teaching materials for language
Primary school pupils are to be taught how to speak and listen to each other.

Young children, more used to watching television than talking, are to be encouraged to improve their communication skills.

From next week, every primary school in England will be sent guidance on how to get children to hold discussions and listen to one another.

The curriculum watchdog, the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA), says improving oral skills has a "key role" in raising standards.

Supporting the "Speaking, Listening, Learning" initiative will be a pack of teaching materials, including a training video for teachers.

These materials, which show teachers how to encourage children to improve their speech, are being claimed as the "first of their kind to be developed anywhere in the world".

Poor communication skills

There have been concerns that children, who have spent too long watching television and too little time talking to their parents, have arrived at school with poor communication skills.

A report from school inspectors from Ofsted recently claimed that too many children beginning school lacked basic social skills and could not even dress themselves.

Head teachers had claimed that the behavioural and verbal skills of children starting school were at an all-time low, with some five-year-olds unable to speak properly.

This project, from the Primary National Strategy, has the aim of improving children's learning and social skills by helping them to talk to each other and in groups.

The literacy strategy in primary schools has been claimed as one of the more successful of recent educational reforms in England.

"Language is an integral part of most learning and oral language in particular has a key role in classroom teaching and learning. Children's creativity, understanding and imagination can be engaged and fostered by discussion and interaction," says the QCA.

"In their daily lives, children use speaking and listening to solve problems, speculate, share ideas, make decisions and reflect on what is important."

Non-English pupils make most progress
01 Jul 03  |  Education
Children 'need more speech help'
01 May 03  |  Scotland

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