Training, consultancy and resources to improve teaching and learning
You are here > Members' Resources > Online Learning Magazine > 2011 Magazine Issues > Issue 18: Language for Learning
Books Membership

To read the learning magazine, download resources and to access site resources you'll need to join and login:

  • Standard Member: Free
    Monthly updates, magazine & limited resources
  • Teacher Premium Member: £24 per annum
    Monthly updates, magazine & all teacher resources
Find out more about each level >>
Books Training Events
Deep Thinking Effective Learning Full Day
Mon 30 Sep 19 Winchester, Hampshire
£80 per delegate
Further Info on Training

Thinking Heads: 6 Sessions
for headteachers
Starts 3 Oct 19   Andover, Hampshire
Further Info on Course

Thinking Heads: 4 Sessions
for headteachers. 2nd Cohort
Starts 10 Jan 20   Wandsworth, South London
Further Info on Course

Network & Support Group: 4 Afternoons
for Special Schools & Unit Middle Leaders
Starts 10 Jan 20   Wandsworth, South London
Further Info on Course

Availability On Key Dates:
Availability early Sep 2019
18 Oct 19; 25 Oct 19; 4 Nov 19

Professional Learning Available From Mike:
Curriculum Design & Development
INSET & Non Closure Days
(New) Headteacher Executive Coaching
Thinking Heads Facilitation
Coaching Skills for Leaders
Video Coaching for Improved Teaching
Challenge 10 Toolkit - Quality Teaching
Programmes for MATs/TSAs/LAs
Books Teacher Premium Offer

Moving School CoveJul 19
This month's Teacher Premium Offer:

How to Support Children Moving School £10.00

with free standard delivery in the UK

Book Cover Boys LearningAug 2019
This month's Teacher Premium Offer:

Understand and Improve Boys Learning £10.00

with free standard delivery in the UK

See expired members offers

Shop Free Shop Delivery

Teacher Premium Members receive

  • Free UK Standard Delivery in the Thinking Classroom Book Shop
Magazine Issue 18: Language for Learning
December 2011

This month ideas about and techniques for Using Language

Article: Using Language
New Resources
Additional Resources

This Month's Article:

Using Language

Using Language An Article exploring the gift of language and challenging us to get our children talking rather than keeping them silent.

Language is the dress of thought.
Samuel Johnson

Think like a wise man but communicate in the language of the people. 
William Butler Yeats

What is language? What is communication? How can thinking about language help learning?

This is a Free Sample Resource

Categories: Article, Teaching & Learning, Any Subject, English, Educators

Tags: Language Speaking & Listening
Groob Pleakness clibbed Fulsy Beechive helkering jibly un tib wrink dablet. Nonsense, yet meaningfully structured. The words are gobbledegook but the grammar is familiar; we can make a reasonable guess as to what Groob and Fulsy might be up to. Leikwsie the oredr of ltertes mnakig up inidiavdul wodrs is nto as estsenial to unandrsntdeig as we mya hvae ocne toghuht. Phonics-politics aside, Language is mysterious, diverse and beautiful. Children are born with grammar engines already puffing away in their heads and all we parents and teachers need do is shovel in huge bags of words as fuel, keeping our own engines on show and turning . ‘If Groob keeps doing what he’s doing’, we might ask a four-year-old, ‘what would we say?’ ‘Clibbing,’ could be the reply; no idea what the verb means, but hardwired to understand how verbs work.

Over 6,000 languages are spoken in the world today, many sharing common linguistic heritages such Proto-Indo European (PIE). Words emerge and decay; grammar mutates; old languages cling on in the mouths of elders; variants and deviants r cr8ed. Language is alive and has been evolving ever since humans dropped their emotionally driven grunts and mumbles and picked up sophisticated verbal tools. We needed to collaborate to acquire food but complex food acquisition required complex communication. So when the hunting was difficult the guy with the good idea used language to tell the tribe his plan and to coordinate group action.

When the brain uses language it integrates thought, senses, memory and emotion. When children talk about what they are doing, as they are learning, they use more neural resources than if they are silent. (how often do we start to self-talk, muttering under our breaths, when challenged by a particularly difficult problem).  Ironic then that a very popular classroom instruction is still ‘stop talking’ or variants thereof. The classroom should be purposefully noisy and flooded by structured, relevant talk. Children should be bathed in language and taught how to swim. Rather than shutting them up we must set them off.

Language makes thought visible and public. We express the past and imagine the future. Stories are told, culture and behaviours preserved, plans made and aspirations articulated. Language lets us say who we are and express what we might become. What a gift we have to give to our young ones.

New Resources:

Loom Thinking

Loom Thinking A hands on Thinking Skills Tool to help pupils clarify their subject knowledge then weave it into new combinations.

Categories: Thinking Tool, Creative Thinking, Creativity, Any Subject, DT, Junior

Tags: Active Learning
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

English Think Sheet - Story

English Think Sheet - Story A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for understanding and creating narrative.

Categories: Think Sheet, English, Junior, Thinking Skills

Tags: Story
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Additional Resources:

Thinking Classroom Archive:

Think Sheets are activities that combine knowledge and thinking skills. More available in previous issues including,

Geography Think Sheet - Cities

Geography Think Sheet - Cities A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for creatively exploring urban living and sustainability.

Categories: Think Sheet, Geography, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Cities Sustainability
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

DT Think Sheet - Product Ideas

DT Think Sheet - Product Ideas A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for considering design requirements and innovative/creative product problem solving.

Categories: Think Sheet, DT, Junior, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Design
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.


ICT Think Sheet - Sharing Information

ICT Think Sheet - Sharing Information A Think Sheet of Thinking Classroom ideas for exploring the high quality exchange of information.

Categories: Think Sheet, IT, Secondary, Thinking Skills

Tags: Technology Communication
Teacher Premium Resource: Login or Upgrade to Teacher Premium to access this resource.

Next month we think about Emotional Intelligence