Bridgend Talk Conference

| June 18, 2007 | 3 Comments 

I was invited, by Les Phillips, School Development Officer, Bridgend County Borough Council Bridgend to open the Bridgend Talk Project Conference at the ESIS Conference Centre near Cardiff today.

I have become very involved with Bridgend and have always enjoyed the visits I have made before. I am also coming back  over three weeks in the autumn term, working clusters of schools, in the region.

Les, Jane Ryan Caine, Jo Blackman and Beth Williams organised a really interesting day, full of discussion on ways of motivating speaking and listening in children of all abilities and ages.The project has received financial and moral support from the Basic Skills Agency for Wales, in the shape of their Training and Strategic Intervention Grants

The Talk Project aims to develop talk-based learning through interactive group work, using techniques and strategies inspired by the work of the National Oracy Project. These strategies are generic and can be applied from foundation stage through to key stage 3, across all subjects. I find many of the elements fascinating and similar to the techniques we have been developing when using the Myst games as a stimulus. Individual think time; paired talk; structured talk; thinking and talking, envoying, collating ideas, sharing across a group…

On a previous trip to Bridgend, we touched upon many of these features and planned how we might work across all areas of the curriculum and recorded them on 2Simple’s 2Connect:

A lot of the development process in the Bridgend Talk Project is based on modelling, focus on key vocabulary, and reading writing to peers. All of these elements are particularly valuable for boys, who need an audience for their work and ideas.

The Talk Project was originally developed, in Hull, by the Education Development Unit (part of St Martin’s College, Ambleside) Original work was carried out by John Peatfield and his team.

You can see some case studies from the Hull project here: Collingwood Primary SchoolBricknell Primary School

It was fun to get the folk at the conference to try some of the talk elements through one of the Myst landscapes. However, for me, one of the most enjoyable experiences was watching Karen Morgan and Julia Williams, from Mynydd Cynffig Junior school and Tynerheol Primary school, present all of the excellent work they have been doing using Myst. They had so many thought provoking ideas: getting children to design real perfumes after studying the plant life in the Myst landscapes. Superb! Character profiles for all of the Myst inhabitants:

One of the “extras” I mentioned was my use of Crazy Talk 4. Discussed with a few people how useful this can be for presenting work in an original and fun way. It is also great for exploring facial expressions with children on the autistic spectrum. We had Tony Blair welcoming us all personally this morning.

Thanks to all for a valuable and practical day.

Category: 1) Events and Training days

Comments (3)

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  1. Jane Ryan caine says:

    A great couple of days at the Bridgend Talk Project Conference and really good to have Tim on board. It’s very helpful when teachers can see connections between different ways of working in the classroom and are given the opportunity to use lots of different sorts of stimulus material to make learning vibrant and exciting as well as meaningful.

    At the heart of the Talk Projects the EDU have been involved in around the UK lies the value we place on collaborative learning for teachers as well as for children, and the conference was a really good example of this in action. I doubt anyone (yes, even Les!) came away from the conference without a new nugget of thinking to chew over as well as some great ideas for use in the classroom. Is anyone else out there looking forward already to Bridgend Talk Conference Two?


  2. Alison Grabham says:

    A stimulating 2 days !! Loads of ideas – some tried and tested others definately will be. Great to have the opportunity to “talk” to so many Bridgend teachers. Thanks to Les for organising it, all the contributors for sharing their own experiences and practice and especially Tim who inspired me to take this forward. Only 130 other staff to convince now !

  3. Just a quick point about using CrazyTalk (which is how I found this blog)… we do presentation skills training and we find it’s useful sometimes for us too, to show people how their face is interpreted as they’re talking. So it’s not just people on the autistic spectrum, but the rest of us too!


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