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Deirdre Scarlett

Session title

Establishing a culture of oracy in the Thinking Classroom

9.25 - 10.25am

Workshop Overview:

Having embraced a common language around thinking and seen the power of metacognition, we are on now establishing a culture of oracy in the thinking classroom. The relationship between thinking, language and effective learning are fundamental to good outcomes for learners. Come on a journey with us as we share how we have arrived at this point and how we believe the explicit teaching of speaking skills is entirely linked to pupil readiness for the future. Quality classroom talk does not just happen, but it can happen through thought, collective commitment and an understanding of the power of dialogic teaching.


Deirdre Scarlett has been teaching in Priory Integrated College for 33 years and a member of Senior Leadership as Leader of Learning and Teaching for 14 of those years. Deirdre was awarded the Pearson Secondary School Teacher of the Year Award in 2009. She is a graduate from the Education faculty of Queen’s University (Stranmillis College). Deirdre has led the College’s Thinking Schools Drive Team from 2019, embedding cognitive education approaches including developing Habits of Mind. As part of her leadership role, she mentors all Beginning and Student teachers within the College, finding real fulfilment in helping shape the next generation of outstanding classroom practioners and leaders. This role gives her the opportunity to ensure all new teachers are trained in the Thinking School approach. Although a Senior Leader, Deirdre finds real enjoyment in the classroom. In recent years, she has developed the Princes Trust PDE programme within the College, which provides opportunities for thinking skills and personal capabilities development amongst the pupils. Deirdre is of the belief that all pupils want to learn and can learn. Through the school’s journey with Thinking Matters, aiming to embed cognitive teaching and learning strategies, supported by strengthening pupils’ positive learning behaviours, this ambition is making real progress.

Deirdre Scarlett
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