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Oral tasks

If the teacher considers that the child who stammers is not joining in as much as the others, it is always helpful to talk with him to see how he can best be helped.

In the video clip the teacher sets a simple oral task and asks for volunteers to speak. Being given notice of when they will give their answers so that planning can take place helps most children.  The child who stammers, particularly, usually benefits by being given time to plan ahead and anxiety is reduced by the knowledge of when an answer is to be given.  However, some children who stammer prefer to go first to avoid the build up of anxiety, while others may simply just want to know their turn. In any class oral task it is always more supportive of children's speech needs to ask for volunteers particularly if they have a speech, language and communication need (SCLN). When the child who stammers feels his speech is less fluent he may choose to reduce his speaking on that day and this capacity to manage his speech is to be encouraged as long as the teacher talks with him if he does not seem to be participating as much as the curriculum requires. Some negotiation about speaking should take place and there may be a need for further intervention.

A simple oral task, presented at the beginning of the school day on an interesting subject can act as a confidence building 'warm-up' for the rest of the day.  This helps the pupils to see chatting as a pleasurable task.  An opportunity for language development is being offered. In rare cases, a dysfluent child may start to talk at an inappropriate length because he knows he will not be interrupted.  Staff should tactfully ensure he takes his turn in the normal way, as with any other pupil.


  • Talk to the child about the best strategy to adopt.
  • Try not to surprise the stammering child with quick-fire questions and allow him time to prepare.
  • Be aware that a stammering child may also talk at an inappropriate length, and be so busy worrying about getting his words out that he interrupts and ignores rules of turn taking.