Ysgol Y Moelwyn is a bilingual secondary school for pupils aged between 11 and 16 located in Blaenau Ffestiniog in Gwynedd, Wales.
The Strategic Headteacher, Dewi Lake, along with Sharon Davies, Head of English, have been working with Talk The Talk for the past three years.
On our most recent visit to their school to work with Year 9 students in September, they spoke with Talk The Talk about the challenges facing the education profession, communication skills and what it is about their school that makes them proud.
Q. In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges that teachers face today?
In my view, the biggest challenge is to develop basic learning skills such as motivation, working with others, problem solving, literacy and numeracy skills. The other challenge is to cope with the increasingly high expectations and accountability from all directions.
In my opinion, one of the challenges teachers face is a heavy workload in terms of marking and planning of lessons. It can also be a challenge to maintain a healthy work-life balance.
Q. Teachers are busy and under pressure. Why should they take on the additional responsibility of arranging a Talk The Talk day?
The Talk the Talk sessions are an extremely valuable addition to a school’s programme. These workshops have a wide-ranging and long lasting impact on pupils and this filters back into the classroom.
The process itself of arranging the day is a straightforward one thanks to the team at Talk The Talk. Pupils will benefit greatly from the day and the skills they develop in terms of their confidence to communicate are invaluable and can be utilized in all subjects. They will also thoroughly enjoy the day and learn about themselves and others.
Q. What it is about Ysgol Y Moelwyn that makes you proud?
I’m particularly proud of two things! I`m proud of the achievements of the pupils in the school and also very proud to be a member of a fantastic team of staff here at Ysgol Y Moelwyn.
It’s a privilege to work in this school as the pupils here are enthusiastic and spirited.
Q. Talk The Talk work to ensure that young people leave school as confident communicators for life. To what extent do you feel that communicative competence is a key to social mobility?
The ability to communicate with confidence and develop relationships of all sorts certainly opens all kinds of doors and exciting opportunities. In my view having the confidence and the skills to communicate, express feelings, emotions, articulate ideas and being able to form and justify opinions equips youngsters to face the challenges of life’s journey.
Communicative competence is key in all situations and in everyday life in general. It is essential that young people develop these skills and are aware of the importance of being able to communicate effectively and thus to be able to work with people in various situations. The workshops certainly opened the eyes of many pupils as to how they needed to improve their own speaking and listening skills.
Q. If we were sitting together a year from now, celebrating a major change in education in Wales, what would that change be and why would it be so important?
It would be fantastic to celebrate that the Welsh Government and all schools in Wales truly embrace the vision of a confident and fluent bilingual nation, giving also the Welsh language its due recognition and status.
That teachers and pupils are given recognition for their hard work and dedication.