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Ten tips

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Some advice to pupils who stammer about oral work

  • Always talk to your teacher about any oral task if you have any worries. Negotiate with him about how your talking can be planned to balance some challenge with your feeling comfortable about your talking contribution.

  • Plan and prepare any oral presentation in advance.

  • Use a cassette recorder to record your oral work and listen to yourself talking and then practise it again. If you then deliver your presentation aloud to yourself or a friend, while playing your own recording of the same one, you are not likely to stammer. The experience of fluency may build up your confidence about talking in class.

  • Choose a conversation 'buddy' to talk about, plan and practise your oral presentation.

  • Spend time on good subject research and working on style and vocabulary.

  • You could memorise your talk and use cue cards to help you deliver it.

  • Use visual aids, perhaps pictures, overheads or other resources that illustrate your talk. If you have ICT skills use a computer for visual aids or deliver a PowerPoint presentation.

  • If the oral task is worrying you, talk to your teacher about strategies to help you before you do it. Perhaps you might speak to an audience of friends, rather than the whole class, and be given a number of words for your talk rather than a set time so that you don't feel you're rushing to finish.

  • If you feel more confident talking in another subject area when your oral assessments for English examinations are being done, ask your teacher if it's possible for you to be assessed talking in that situation.

  • If you're not working with a speech and language therapist, and would like access to one, talk to your parents or teacher about arranging a referral.

Ten tips about oral work