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Classroom promotion of oral language

  • The Classroom Promotion of Oral Language (CPOL) trial is a study to investigate the impact of teacher led oral language promotion on child language, literacy and mental health.

    CPOL is built on 3 areas of policy-relevant research; (1) the importance of the early years of school (2) the importance of teacher quality (3) the intrinsic relationship between oral language skills and future literacy, numeracy and social development.

    Language competence (including spoken communication and literacy) is a major influence on children’s developmental pathways and life success. The ability to communicate and use language effectively impacts upon the capacity of children to learn, on their mental health and behaviour, on their future educational and employment achievements, and on their social and community participation opportunities. As a teacher’s effectiveness has a powerful impact on students, this study will determine whether a teacher professional learning program can lead to improved teacher knowledge and practice leading to improved student outcomes in oral language, literacy and mental health for early years’ primary school children.

    This project builds on a successful pilot (Snow et al., in press) and stands to significantly influence student learning in early years classrooms, by translating empirical evidence into changed teacher practices.


    The aims of the project are to:

    1. Determine the effectiveness (and cost effectiveness) of a teacher-led whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language (delivered in the first two years of school) on the oral language, literacy development and mental health of children by Grade 3  
    2. 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 
    3. Gain an in-depth understanding of the factors that promote and inhibit the success of a whole-of-class approach to promoting oral language.

    The project will be led by the University of Melbourne (Associate Professor Sharon Goldfeld) together with an experienced team from the health and education disciplines through a unique collaboration between the institutions listed below.

    Project investigators

    The University of Melbourne  

    Associate Professor John Munro
    Dr Patricia Eadie
    Professor Sharon Goldfeld

    Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

    Professor Frank Oberklaid
    Dr Katherine Lee

    Deakin UniversityAssociate Professor Lisa Gold
    Latrobe University Professor Pamela Snow
    The Royal Children’s Hospital Education InstituteDr Tony Barnett
    Dr Liza Hopkins
    Monash UniversityAssociate Professor Pamela Snow
    Catholic Education Commission of VictoriaJudy Connell
    Brenda Andersen-Dalheim
    Victorian Government Department of Education and TrainingGail Inniss
    Jenny Schenk


    1. Goldfeld, S., Snow, P., Eadie, P., Munro, J., Gold, L., Le, H.N.D., Orsini, F., Shingles, B., Lee, K., Connell, J. & Watts, A. (2017). Classroom Promotion of Oral Language (CPOL): protocol for a cluster randomised controlled trial of a school-based intervention to improve children's literacy outcomes at grade 3, oral language and mental healthBMJ Open.

    2. Snow, P.C., Eadie, P.A., Connell, J., Andersen, B., McCusker, H.J., & Munro, J.K. (in press). Oral language supports early literacy (OLSEL): A pilot cluster randomized trial in disadvantaged schools. International Journal of Speech Language Pathology.


    For more information please contact Amy Watts, CPOL Project Manager. 


Murdoch Childrens Research Institute

The Centre for Community Child Health is a department of The Royal Children’s Hospital and a research group of Murdoch Childrens Research Institute.