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Last Updated: Monday, 25 October, 2004, 08:37 GMT 09:37 UK
Schools given tips on talking
Pupils talking to teacher
Children will look at different styles of talking
Schools are being given official guidance on how to teach pupils standard spoken English.

The guidance, published on Monday by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority, says speaking accurately and clearly is a vital skill.

Head teachers have warned in the past that television and computer use are harming children's conversation skills.

The QCA's 60-page booklet - Introducing the Grammar of Talk - is available to schools in England.

'Appropriate words'

The guidance, aimed at teachers of children aged 12 to 16, "sets out new concepts for understanding the characteristics of speech", says the QCA.

The body says teaching about speaking is more difficult for many teachers than teaching writing skills, for which there is a well-developed system of grammar.

Children will be encouraged to look at the different styles of speaking - from chatting to a group of friends to speaking in a debate.

It is hoped this will improve their social skills and career prospects.

As part of the national curriculum in English, pupils are expected to develop writing, reading, listening and speaking skills.

Sue Horner, lead consultant for English at QCA, said: "The national curriculum recognises the ability to speak accurately and clearly as vital skills. Teachers can use ideas from this booklet to help pupils to master these skills.

"It suggests a new language that can be used to discuss critically areas where students can improve.

"All young people must be able to express themselves in a comprehensible way, appropriate to the audience they are talking to, if they are to take on the opportunities and responsibilities of adult life."

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