Why oracy matters

Why oracy matters

Why oracy matters

event Saturday, September 28, 2024 schedule 2.00pm - 3.00pm BST
event Saturday, September 28, 2024 schedule 2.00pm - 3.00pm BST
  • Why Oracy Matter lecture poster
The importance of developing young people’s spoken language skills
In-person | £10
Open to: 
Alumni and guests
Peter Richards Room, Hughes Hall | View details

At all levels in mainstream education, spoken language skills have never been given the same attention as those in written language or mathematics. But in most people’s lives, oracy skills are at least as important as those of literacy and numeracy. Hughes Hall Life Fellow Professor Neil Mercer and Hughes PhD student Benjamin Strawbridge will describe how their Centre, Oracy Cambridge, works with teachers and policy makers in the UK and internationally to rectify this situation.

After the presentation, there will an opportunity for questions and discussion.


Professor Neil Mercer

Photo of Neil Mercer

Neil Mercer is Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of Cambridge, Director of Oracy Cambridge: the Centre for Effective Spoken Communication and a Life Fellow of Hughes Hall.

He is a psychologist whose research has focused on the development of children’s spoken language and reasoning abilities and teachers’ role in that development.

In 2019 he was given the Oeuvre Award by the European Association for Research into Learning and Instruction; and in 2021 the John Nisbet Award by the British Educational Research Association, both in recognition of outstanding contributions to educational research.

Benjamin Strawbridge

Photo of Benjamin Strawbridge

Benjamin Strawbridge trained as a specialist chemistry teacher and has worked at both inner-city and rural schools in England.

Drawing on his teaching experience, Benjamin’s doctoral research at the University of Cambridge investigates the use of an oracy intervention to promote vocabulary learning in secondary science classrooms.

Benjamin is an Affiliate of Oracy Cambridge and teaches social science research methods at the Faculty of Education.

Reading list

'Oracy: the transformative power of talk' by Neil Mercer will be published by Bodley Head in 2025

Booking information

Refreshments will be available after the session.



Peter Richards Room, Hughes Hall
Wollaston Road
United Kingdom


The Festival Team
Location information: 



The venue is wheelchair accessible.