Here you will find the work in progress to provide links to the research that supports our teacher network. We are fortunate in that there is increasing research evidence supporting our ways of working. We have not needed to change our aims since we first started out in the early 1960s.

Andrew Wilkinson in 1965 decided a new word was needed to describe speaking and listening: 'Oracy'. I was working in the English Department at Westhill College of Education in Birmingham and Andrew presented his ideas at a meeting of the Birmingham Association for Teaching English of which I was a member. It was published by NATE in English in Education and in expanded book form by the university. I still have my copy. Here is Andrew's Introduction to the book: The Concept of Oracy.

Further chapters can be downloaded below.

Here you can see Alan Davies' chapter:

"Linguistics and the Teaching of Spoken English"

Here you can see Andrew Wilkinson's chapter:

"Influences on Oracy"


Here you can see Andrew Wilkinson's chapter:

"Spoken English in School"

Many teachers who want to keep up to date with research often find that recent research is either only available in expensive book form or on pay-to-view journal pages. We have been experimentlng with Academia edu and similar sites which "look out" (via algorithms) for research from your own key-words and allows limited free downloads in pdf. We are going to make papers we have discovered and read available for a limited time on our new helter skelter page on the right and endeavour to provide a taste of work that supports collaborative learning. We'd welcome suggestions and additions from colleagues in universities who enjoy easier library access to research. We have also been involved in establishing the new NALDIC Special Interest Group starting in September, which will work on supporting synergy between research and practice. You do not need to belong to NALDIC to join the group. Please email if you want to join in.

Our First Aim: to develop resources that empower learners by encouraging them to work with every other learner in the class in a playful, but purposeful, way. We want to nurture emotional and social development and make learners confident in sharing what they already know. We want to develop pupil voice.

"Build on prior learning"

"Ensure everyone works with everyone else"

The Cambridge Review Trust webpage is no longer live. Developed by Robin Alexander and colleagues it provided full texts of research papers and recent conference presentations. But you can still access his work on his personal site.





Jim Cummins Emeritus Professor at OISE. Click on portrait for link to his webpage.

Virginia Collier and Wayne Thomas have dedicated their lives to research on the value and impact of dual language education.

Our Second Aim: to make complex ideas accessible by providing ways in which they can be presented in concrete, visual and tactile ways. By taking abstract thinking out of heads and putting it on the table. Not by simplifying ideas but by breaking them down and presenting them in case studies with lots of detail and examples. By providing scaffolding.


"Move from concrete to abstract thinking."
"Extend social language into curriculum language."
"Provide motivating ways to go over the same topic more than once."

Stephen Krashen. Click on the portrait for link to his website where there is a lot of support for the first aim too! All his research is available on line.

The Acquisition Learning Hypothesis

The Monitor Hypothesis

the Natural Order Hypothesis

the Input Hypothesis

the Affective Filter Hypothesis

the Reading Hypothesis

But Paul Shoebottom has done a very good job on Krashen too so here's a linkwhich is not currently working. We'll try to contact him for an update.

We also like the look of the Teaching Comprehensively site and will be investingating this further. Please take a look and comment.

Jim Cummins again. Click on portrait for link to his webpage


Beyond language: Academic communication and
student success.

Jim Cummins
The University of Toronto, Canada
16 February 2014.

Here is a link to this article

NALDIC provides access to her resources - not easily available in the UK.

Our Third Aim: to encourage exploratory talk in the classroom.

There is increasing evidence that talk and thinking work together to develop new meanings. There is also now neurological evidence that talk fuels brain development. Unfortunately, there is also evidence that talk has been neglected in our classrooms and this has widened the gap in attainment. Talk is good for all learners and vital for children learning a new language while they are learning. Our activities scaffold talk and help teachers plan for the language to support thinking. They also allow learners to move to and from social language and curriculum/academic talk and from there to confident writing.

"Writing floats on a sea of talk"



Inspired by the ideas of Lev Vygotsky, Andrew Wilkinson who invented the word "oracy", James Britton, Douglas Barnes, Harold Rosen. Recent work by Robin Alexander, Valerie Coultas and Neil Mercer.

Oracy is not oratory: presentational talk is just one tip of the oracy iceberg.


Paul Gardner's book currently provides the clearest account of the effectiveness of Collaborative Learning. Download a summary here or click on the book.



Lev Vgotsky


Link to John Richmond's website covering language and learning action research.

Neil Mercer