Promoting Oral Language in the Classroom

Oral language is a key foundation for student learning. It is essential for literacy learning, and effective use of language is critical for students’ wellbeing. Almost all classroom-based learning relies on oral language. Children who do not master the basics of literacy in the early years of school are often ambivalent towards school and may be at increased risk of experiencing a range of behavioural and adjustment difficulties.


Despite the importance of oral language competence within the classroom context, there has been little research done to determine if oral language promotion changes child outcomes and/or teacher practice.

Improving children’s language, literacy and mental health: Evaluating the impact of the classroom promotion of oral language (CPOL) approach is a research project which aims to determine the effectiveness of an oral language intervention delivered at Foundation and Year One on the language and literacy development and mental health of children by Year Three.

The study aims to


  • determine the effectiveness of a teacher-led, whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language
  • determine whether a specifically designed teacher professional development program focussed on a whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language can lead to sustained change in teacher practice
  • gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that promote and inhibit the success of a whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language.


This study is a collaboration between The Royal Children’s Hospital (RCH) Education Institute, The Centre for Child Community Health (CCCH), The University of Melbourne, Monash University, the Catholic Education Commission of Victoria (CECV) and the Victorian Government Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD). It builds upon previous work completed by the CECV which has shown in a pilot trial that such professional development of teachers has led to improvements in oral language development for Foundation and Year One children.


Utilising a cluster randomised controlled trial, 75 schools across both the Catholic and government education sectors, have been targeted for study - Parkmore Primary School being one of these schools. The intervention involves a five day teacher professional development (PD) program with ongoing support provided for implementation of PD learnings.


The Classroom Promotion of Oral Language trial is funded by an Australian Research Council Linkage Grant and The Ian Potter Foundation.