4.1 Accessible language: lexicon, syntax, diction, and elocution

 Activity 17: Walking encyclopaedia

This activity will enable teachers to identify the characteristics of a language that excludes pupils.

  • Download the resource Walking encyclopaedia from the section Using appropriate language [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] in the Audio resources area on the TESSA website.
  • Listen to this short play and list all the examples of actions that should be avoided that could explain why Ibrahim is finding it so hard to understand Mr Jude. Draw some conclusions: what should teachers do to ensure that pupils understand them?
  • What other aspects of language should a teacher consider to ensure that it is accessible to all pupils in the class? Add other ideas that would facilitate pupil understanding to your existing list.
  • If you work with colleagues, compare your lists and discuss the strategies you could adopt to ensure that your own language is accessible.

A vocabulary and/or syntax that are inappropriate for the child’s age and experience can only create a barrier between the child and learning and between the child and the teacher. Teachers must choose their vocabulary and syntax they use carefully so that pupils understand them. Furthermore, teachers must have a clear elocution and diction and use their voice so as to maintain pupils’ attention. They must also ensure that children who need to lip-read will be able to do so easily.

4. Using language accessible to all

4.2 Ensuring understanding in general