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After researching our earlier feature about stammering and having discussions with Abed Ahmed he has told me that he has written an article to help other teachers learn how to help pupils with a stammer. We thought it would be great as a follow up article to include this information so that maybe many others can be helped using this advice.
You can read the full article here https://www.tes.com/news/school-news/breaking-views/how-my-stammer-made-me-a-better-teacher
Below is a summary of the information included in the article. So, as a teacher with a stammer, what do I advise other teachers to do to support their students with a stammer?
* As a general rule, treat a pupil with a stammer the same way as you treat pupils who do not. We don’t like to be treated differently.
* Never finish their sentences. Always listen to what they have to say and not the way they are saying it.
* Being patient is important. The more anxious we feel, the more likely we will stammer even more. It can be tempting to say things like “spit it out”, but that’s the worst thing you can say to a person who stammers.
* Don’t tell them to breathe slowly or to take their time – it just makes us feel that we are not capable of speaking for ourselves.
* Show them that you are always listening. Ensure you keep natural eye contact at all times. We like to know that we are being listened to.
* Ask stammerers what you can do as a teacher to support them. Try speaking to that pupil more than before, even if it’s before lesson or in the canteen. Every bit of conversation will help them. This will hopefully encourage them to speak more, which is what we want.
* Always encourage them to take part in speaking activities – but you should certainly ask them beforehand, so you know what they’re comfortable with.
This advice isn’t just for teachers but for everyone, as if we all took tips from this we would all be helping those with stammers to gain in confidence. Thank you to Abed Ahmed for letting us have this information.