Literacy and Oracy in History – a new HA CPD guide

As we near the end of the long autumn term, subject leaders may be starting to think about preparation for INSET time at the start of January. The HA is here to help with a range of CPD guides that SLs can use to structure learning together as a department. You can find the currently available guides here.

The most recent guide focuses on literacy and oracy. It draws together in one easy to access place the wealth of resources that are available to support effective and meaningful work to speak, listen, read and write in the history classroom.

As the introduction says: “Argument is at the heart of history. The historically literate student can argue. Historical speaking and writing is about presenting an evidence-based argument, even when producing a narrative. History students need to bring together knowledge of different kinds to form an argument. They need to know how to defend and adapt their arguments when presented with new evidence. They need to be confident reading for argument too. That is, to recognise, explore the construction of, and engage with the argument of others. It therefore follows that literacy and oracy cannot be bolted onto our history teaching via whole school initiatives. They need to be at the core of our planning and teaching of history.”

The literacy and oracy CPD guide can support SLs and their teams to make a real difference to historical literacy and oracy. Resources are provided with discussion questions. It has some key messages for us all:

  • Literacy and oracy are at the heart of history.
  • Teaching and learning literacy and oracy is challenging but achievable.
  • Teachers will be learning as they teach and there are no quick fixes.
  • Few of the generic literacy strategies in schools nurture historical literacy.
  • Lots of work has been done on historical literacy and so there is lots of support.
  • Historical literacy and oracy is achievable for all students, regardless of prior attainment.

It would be great to feature work that develops from this CPD guide in the forthcoming year. Please do send us a blogpost if you would like to share what you are doing with your pupils.

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