Te Kete Ipurangi Navigation:

Te Kete Ipurangi

Te Kete Ipurangi user options:

ESOL Online. Every child literate - a shared responsibility.
Ministry of Education.

Module 5 - Supporting oral language


Providing frequent opportunities for students to use not only English but also their first language to talk about a concept or topic is an important factor in the development of oral language.

 This module addresses ways you can support the development of oral language by:

  •  providing rich experiences to talk about
  •  providing a variety of visual materials to help understanding
  •  integrating oral language development with the development of reading and writing
  •  encouraging families to continue using their first language at home.

Refer to page 39 of your handbook to read the module introduction that details a number of strategies for supporting oral language. You can download the PDF of this module here:

Teacher holding picture cards.

Audio transcript

Namaste, I’m Rae Si’ilata.  

If you have completed Module 4, you will have a better understanding of:

  • scaffolding as a foundation principle of teaching and learning
  • the role the English-Language Learning Progressions can play in monitoring student progress
  • the importance of using a range of vocabulary strategies to grow ELLs’ word knowledge.

In Module 5, you will be encouraged to work alongside teachers to provide multiple opportunities for students to interact with one another in non-threatening, purposeful and enriching ways (Jannie van Hees, 2007). It is vital that all learners develop a rich bank of oral language. For some ELLs this means that their first language should be used to talk about what they already know about the topic before the English words for these ideas can be learnt.

The Oral Language Matrices in the English Language Learning Progressions (pages 24–25 in the Introduction Booklet) provides descriptors of expected student oral skills from Foundation Stage to Stage 4. The Oral Language Exemplars DVD shows students at each of these stages.

Oral language should generally be linked to what the students are reading and writing. Using structured activities such as the speaking frame (which is featured in this module’s video clip) help prepare students for writing. Remember that writing floats on a sea of talk.

You can encourage meaningful discussions by creating rich experiences such as trips out of the classroom, practical hands-on activities like cooking, and by using real objects and visual materials related to the current topic. ELLs will gain confidence in speaking the more chances they have of engaging in these types of activities.

By the time you complete this module, you will have a better understanding of the importance of developing English language learners’ oral language skills. You will know how to develop these by helping to provide a range of strategies which encourage meaningful interaction based on curriculum topics.

Learning Tasks

In this module you have five tasks to explore.

  • Using a picture sequence
  • Using a strip text
  • Using a speaking frame
  • Speaking grid
  • Listening grid

 Try some of these tasks and discuss them with others.

 Watch the clip to see a teacher using a speaking frame to model how students can make a presentation in a social studies class.



Teacher - To do that I’m going to share with you my family treasure. Now yesterday somebody guessed that it had to do with clothing.

Student - Uhm, is it like a really special piece of clothing from your mum or dad?

Teacher - It is a special piece of clothing and this special piece of clothing is from my grandmother. It’s just got a little bit broken and old really. Yes?

Student - How old is it?

Teacher - It is about, about 60 years old now, this costume. And on the board I think you’ve covered most of what it would be that I would talk to you about. My treasure is…...who could tell me? Alex?

Student - A ballet costume.

Teacher - Thank you, that’s correct.

Student - It has lots of sequins on it.

Teacher - Good, and can you tell me some colours?

Student - Uhm, gold, black.

Teacher - I like the way you’ve used adjectives there; black, silver so they’re describing my costume, my grandmother’s costume.

Your thoughts

The Next Steps section of this module (p43-45), asks you to record the strategies you are using and the impact on your teaching and student learning throughout the year.

Discuss the Next Steps section in the handbook with your coordinating teacher then answer these questions about your learning from this module:

  1. What are three concepts and three terms you learnt in this module?
  2. What learning tasks did you complete in this module?
  3. How will you apply the learning tasks from this module with your students?
  4. What main issues did you discuss with your coordinating teacher?
  5. What do you need to find out more about and how will you do this?
  6. What do you need to do to prepare for the next module?

When you've completed all of the questions, you've finished the module. Your coordinating teacher can sign off the module on the course completion certificate

Published on: 08 Jan 2018