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Pupils' view

In the first video clip, two pupils explain their feelings about their teacher. 

Emma recalls an unhappy experience with one teacher who did not really understand her speech needs and she describes being upset by this. Louis makes the point that he prefers it when the teacher just speaks with him as he would with any other pupil. The challenge for all teachers of the pupil who stammers is to maintain and develop self-esteem, the confidence to communicate and a willingness to work hard and achieve to potential.

It is only too easy to undermine those qualities by a thoughtless remark or reaction from staff or pupils. This may be unintentional but could be damaging for the sensitive teenager who stammers. See also Support for learning: Bullying in this resource. 

The answer is for every member of staff to be sensitive to the communication needs of all pupils, even if they do not know the pupil personally and this requires training. Also, it shows the absolute need for information about the pupil's speech needs to be circulated to all the pupil's subject tutors so that an inadvertent but damaging remark is not made.

It is difficult in the busy secondary school for all subject tutors to always remember in a short lesson the specific needs of every pupil they teach, so a general awareness of communication needs is essential to prevent a negative speech experience for the pupil. 

In P7

The second video shows Paul in P7 talking with his class teacher. It is apparent that the relationship he has with his teacher is very supportive and he is able to share any worries he has. In a secondary school the same good practice of one named teacher regularly talking with the pupil who stammers may be more difficult to ensure but it should be maintained.

This regular contact can nip in the bud any problems before they escalate. This is particularly important if there is any likelihood that teasing or bullying is taking place. See Support for learning: Bullying in this resource

Summary

  • A named teacher should talk regularly with the pupil who stammers to respond to any concerns. 
  • All staff should be aware of the communication needs of pupils. 
  • Stammering is unpredictable in form and frequency for each person. Teenagers are most likely to be self conscious and worried about it so that an inadvertent remark or response may be damaging.

Two pupils talk about the reactions of a teacher to their stammer.