High Quality Teaching Strategies for Pupils with Speech and Communication Needs

Contributed by:
Sharp Tutor
High-quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. Additional intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good quality teaching. The majority of pupils can make progress through such teaching. Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for pupils at risk of underachievement.
1. High Quality Teaching
Strategies for Pupils with
Speech, Language and
Communication Needs
Sarah Miller
2. Graduated approach to Speech,
Language and Communication support
Specialist Quality First Teaching (QFT) for
all children and young people
Targeted support that is in
addition to QFT
Children and young people with
severe, complex and long term
SLCN requiring specialist
support in addition to targeted
and universal provision
The Better Communication Research Programme: Improving
provision for children and young people with speech, language and
communication needs. DFE, 2012.
3. The national context for high quality provision
to meet the needs of children and young
people with SEN
‘High quality teaching is that which is differentiated and
personalised to meet the needs of the majority of
children and young people. Some children and young
people need something additional to or different from
what is provided for the majority of children; this is
special educational provision and schools and colleges
must use their best endeavours to ensure that provision
is made for those who need it. Special educational
provision is underpinned by high quality teaching
and is compromised by anything less’.
SEN Code of Practice, DFE 2014
4. Key messages within the Code
of Practice…
• Teachers are responsible and accountable for the progress and
development of the pupils in their class, even where pupils access
support from teaching assistants or specialist staff. Where a pupil is
not making adequate progress, teachers and SENCOs and parents
should collaborate on problem-solving, planning support and
teaching strategies for individual pupils.
• High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first
step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN. Additional
intervention and support cannot compensate for a lack of good
quality teaching. The majority of pupils can make progress through
such teaching. Schools should regularly and carefully review the
quality of teaching for pupils at risk of underachievement.
SEN Code of Practice, DFE 2014
5. Areas to consider for children
with Speech, Language and
Communication Needs
6. Attention and Listening
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
•Get down to the child’s level. •Talking Partners
•Say the child’s name to gain their attention. •The Communication Cookbook
•Minimise noise and visual distractions. www.ican.org.uk
•Simplify your language to the appropriate level. •White boards
•Chunk instructions. •Recordable white boards/buttons
•Provide visual support (objects, photos, pictures, symbols, prompt •Communicate in Print
cards) to reinforce understanding. •National Literacy Trust
•Model expectations by showing the child what they have to do. _listening_to_children
•Practice and reinforce good looking / good listening / good sitting /
•Speaking, listening, learning. Primary
good waiting. Provide explicit praise when they remember and follow
National Strategy
the rules. http://dera.ioe.ac.uk/4872/1/4672b2c0b220f609555d4caea
•Provide additional processing time. cb77ef1.pdf
•Check that information has been understood; observe what the child •Talking Partners
does or says. •Elklan Language Builders resource book (
•Set time limits for children to complete tasks (make these more www.elklan.co.uk)
achievable to start with). Use a timer of some sort to help the children •Listening skills pack (LDA)
be visually aware of the progress of time e.g. sand timer. •Phase 1 Letters and Sounds
7. Speech
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
•Develop phonological awareness (alliteration, syllables, rhyme, •Letters and Sounds materials
blending and segmenting). •Jolly Phonics materials
•Provide clear adult models of speech; •Speech Link materials
•Sensitively remodel what the child has said by repeating it back •Objects to sort into different sounds
accurately. •Post boxes for discriminating between
•Respond positively to what the child has said rather than how they different sounds
have said it. •Phonological Awareness Training
•Encourage the use of gesture, objects and signing to support their •The Communication Cookbook
•Use stories, tongue twisters and rhymes with repetitive use of
individual sounds to reinforce and highlight clear articulation
•Use mirrors to practise correct articulation.
•Play sound discrimination games.
8. Comprehension
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
•Consider the sensory environment in order to limit distractions. •Mind Maps
•Word Webs
•Ensure you gain attention before giving instructions/information.
•Use of gestures and signing (eg Makaton) to
•Modify you language as appropriate. Consider – pace and complexity. augment understanding and recall of vocabulary
Chunk instructions into manageable parts. •Pre-teaching vocabulary
•Use visual support to consolidate the information being given. http://www.widgit.com/resources/literacy-language/vocabulary/pre
•Use a multi-sensory approach to teach and reinforce vocabulary and •Recording buttons
concepts. For example, real objects, concrete situations, photos, •Language Link materials
pictures, symbols. •Objects, photos, pictures, symbols (Communicate in
•Routinely use non-verbal communication and intonation to reinforce Print)
key vocabulary. •Prompt sheets/aide memoirs
•Active Listening for Active Learning
•Ensure that all pupils have access to pre-teaching and consolidation of http://www.qed.uk.com/active_listening.htm
key vocabulary. •Black Sheep Press materials eg Narrative pack
•Make reference to pointing out the phonological structure of words •Thinking Together http://thinkingtogether.educ.cam.ac.uk/
when building comprehension as this helps the word to be more easily •Language for Thinking
remembered and used. http://www.speechmark.net/shop/language-thinking
•Explicitly teach and use classification/categorisation activities to •The Communication Cookbook www.ican.org.ulk
reinforce and extend semantic links. •Talking Time
http://www.ioe.ac.uk/about/documents/About_Staff/PHD_JD_ Pub
•Provide additional thinking/processing time. lications_TALKING_TIME_Handbook.pdf
•Teach children how to recognise when they have not understood and
what they could do.
•Provide opportunities to develop auditory memory.
•Develop awareness and understanding of question words/narrative
9. Expressive Language
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
•Provide opportunities to talk. •Pre-teaching vocabulary prompt sheets (see
•To support spoken narrative use real objects, photos, pictures, http://www.widgit.com/resources/literacy-language/vocabulary/pre
symbols and explicitly investigate: appearance, where it is found, what
•Mind Maps
it is used for , what category does it belong to
•Word Webs
•Model the language: Repeat. Emphasise. Expand.
•Word wheels
•Provide additional processing time in order that the child can formulate •Multiple meaning tree
their response. •Use of gestures and signing (eg Makaton) to
•Use forced alternatives eg Is it… or … augment understanding and recall of vocabulary
•Use questions to support word finding eg What does it look like? Can •Recording buttons
you draw it? Can you show me? What is it used for? •Barrier games
•Objects, photos, pictures, symbols (Communicate in
•Support and scaffold spoken narrative through the use of drama, Print)
puppets, story grids/boards/maps •Prompt sheets/aide memoirs
•Scaffold writing experiences through the use of story •Drama/role play
grids/boards/maps. •Colourful semantics
•Use multi-sensory approaches to teach grammatical features. •Black Sheep Press materials eg Narrative pack
•Use colour coding to teach and reinforce grammatical features. •Thinking Together http://thinkingtogether.educ.cam.ac.uk/
•Every Child a Talker
•Recounts/retelling stories
•The Communication Cookbook www.ican.org.ulk
•Talking Time
http://www.ioe.ac.uk/about/documents/About_Staff/PHD_JD_ Pub
10. Grammar/Syntax
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
• Model appropriate use of grammar. •Language Link materials
•Colourful semantics
• Link speech with writing.
•LDA picture cards for different grammatical aspects
• Focus on one grammatical aspect at a time and ensure that the •Black Sheep Press materials
objective is explicitly shared. •Thinking Together http://thinkingtogether.educ.cam.ac.uk/
• Use a multi-sensory approach to teach grammar. •Every Child a Talker
• Colour code the different aspects of grammar. •The Communication Cookbook www.ican.org.ulk
• Play barrier games. •Talking Time
http://www.ioe.ac.uk/about/documents/About_Staff/PHD_JD_ Pub
• Use of sentence makers: lications_TALKING_TIME_Handbook.pdf
1. Say the sentence
2. Write the sentence
3. Cut the sentence up
4. Re-sequence the sentence
11. Social Interaction
Quality First Teaching Strategies Resources
• Regular opportunities to learn and play rule based and turn •SEAL materials
taking games, including, Circle Time. •Social Stories
•Use of symbolised materials/prompt sheets
• Adult to model appropriate social phrases in context.
(Communicate in Print)
• Use of visual support to reinforce expectations and rules, eg. •Peer mediation- sensitively training peers to act as
Good looking, good sitting, good listening, good waiting. models and mediators in social skills training
• Role play with adult support to mediate as appropriate. •Use of Comic Strip Conversations
• Planned opportunities to teach specific skills, eg. listening, turn •Talkabout series – Alex Kelly
taking, sharing •Socially Speaking and Time to Talk- Alison Shroder
• Adults to use a range of non verbal and verbal cues to maintain •Thinking Together http://thinkingtogether.educ.cam.ac.uk/
the topic of conversation. •Every Child a Talker
• Explicitly encourage topic maintenance through the use of key •The Communication Cookbook www.ican.org.ulk
phrases, eg “You can tell me about that later. Now we are •Talking Time
talking about…” http://www.ioe.ac.uk/about/documents/About_Staff/PHD_JD_ Pub
• Ensure that all members of staff are aware of the child’s social
interaction difficulties and personal targets/plan.
12. Research has found…
‘Providing effective oral language environments which
foster good communication skills is challenging, requiring
practitioners who understand the ways in which children
develop their receptive and expressive language skills and
are able to support their development in the classroom
context. Once effective classrooms for oral language are in
place schools are in a stronger position to become effective
oral language environments’
(Better Communication Research Project, 2012)
13. Further more…
1. Good classroom organisation to maximise language
development needs to be complemented by the fine
tuning of oral language interactions by staff;
2. Activities to scaffold language development need to be
provided in a regular and deliberate manner. These
experiences should include more advanced language
interactions that have been shown to develop oral
language, including grammatical skills, vocabulary and
narrative. Together, these techniques constitute high-
quality verbal input by adults;
3. All staff should fully understand, appreciate and
develop quality use of these language learning
interaction techniques.
(Better Communication Research Project, 2012)
14. Useful sources of information
• Inclusion Development Programme for SLCN
• Communication Trust www.thecommunicationtrust.org.uk
• The Speech and Language Communication Framework
• ICAN www.ican.org.uk
• AFASIC www.afasic.org.uk
• Talking Point www.talkingpoint.org.uk
• Better Communication Research Programme
15. • Universally Speaking - Ages and Stages of children's communication development.
Ages birth - 5; 5-11; 11-18. Free to download from
• Communication Supporting Classroom Observation Tool
• What Works (evidence based support/interventions for children with SEND)
• Inclusion for Children with Speech and Language Impairments: Accessing the
Curriculum and Promoting Personal and Social Development
Ripley, Barrett and Fleming (2001) David Fulton Publishers
• Helping Children Hang Onto Your Every Word Maggie Johnson (2009) QED
• Active Listening for Active Learning Maggie Johnson and Carolyn Player (2009)
16. • Advanced on-line training http://www.advanced-training.org.uk/module5/M05U12.html
• Widgit Symbol Resources https://widgit.com/index.php
• Using visual prompts to teach children how to learn new words as a critical thinking
tool for independent word learning. Pre-teaching Vocabulary
Pip St. John (2013)
• Makaton signing https://www.makaton.org/
17. Additional information, advice, training
and support may be accessed from…
Speech and Language Therapy Service, Bull Meadow Clinic, Bull Meadow Road, Exeter
Communication and Interaction Team (Babcock LDP) 2nd Floor, Milford House, Pynes
Hill, Exeter, EX2 5TH
18. Pre-teaching Vocabulary (PTV)
‘The PTV provides a structured and principled
approach to demonstrating, modelling and teaching
children, especially those with speech, language and
communication needs (SLCN), how to learn new
words. Its aim is to support and scaffold the naturalistic
way teachers already discuss new words and hone and
develop their existing vocabulary teaching and learning
strategies. It provides teachers and children with a
practical framework upon which to develop critical
thinking skills and tools for independent word learning.
It also allows teachers to reflect on their day-to-day
practice and focus on the key ‘goldilocks’ words
needed by their children to effectively understand the
topics in their classroom. Furthermore it reinforces the
importance of developing word knowledge to improve
and enhance listening and future reading
comprehension’ Pip St John (2013 p2).
©pipstjohn Pre-Teaching Vocabulary (PTV) 2013
19. Pre-teaching Vocabulary (PTV)
How it works:
•The use of symbols and pictures using Communicate in Print (CIP www.widgit.com) is embedded
throughout the prompt cards to support teaching children how to learn new words.
•The key is adult modelling of these principles in a small intervention (Wave 3 group) and their
generalisation throughout their whole class (Wave 1) curriculum to support the children’s increased
exposure to the word and support their comprehension
•Symbols are deliberately used to encourage children to think about the different features of a word
tapping into their semantic, phonological and perceptual word knowledge. The majority of symbols
are used to guide children’s thoughts so are not necessarily a direct iconic representation
•The PTV prompt cards are presented in different formats using CIP; A4 for use on the wall, A5 on a
washing line or small strips for use in the games. An A4 adult prompt ‘how we learn new words’
learning wheel/mat is provided as a word document.
•There are three steps/ differentiation in both the prompt cards (colour coded) and adult word wheels
•The PTV resource also provides an informal and easy way to evaluate the outcome of intervention
through using a word learning score (WLS) procedure developed by the author.
Pip St John (2013 p3)
©pipstjohn Pre-Teaching Vocabulary (PTV) 2013
20. With thanks to…
• The Communication Trust
• Speech and Language Therapy Service, Devon
• The Communication and Interaction Team, Babcock LDP, Devon