8 Tips to Help Educators Work With Students Who Stutter
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Given the recent focus on stuttering in the classroom, as covered by the New York Times in the Education section today, the Stuttering Foundation has issued this response:
“The classroom is a challenge for all people who stutter,” said Jane Fraser, president of the nonprofit Stuttering Foundation. “The Stuttering Foundation has a list of eight tips to help educators.”
The tips are:
- Don’t tell the student “slow down” or “just relax.”
- Don’t complete words for the student or talk for him or her.
- Help all members of the class learn to take turns talking and listening. All students – and especially those who stutter – find it much easier to talk when there are few interruptions and they have the listener’s attention.
- Expect the same quality and quantity of work from the student who stutters as the one who doesn’t.
- Speak with the student in an unhurried way, pausing frequently.
- Convey that you are listening to the content of the message, not how it is said.
- Have a one-on-one conversation with the student who stutters about needed accommodations in the classroom. Respect the student’s needs, but do not be enabling.
- Don’t make stuttering something to be ashamed of. Talk about stuttering just like any other matter.
The New York Times article discussed how one college professor asked a student who stutters to pose questions before or after class, “so we do not infringe on other students’ time.” As for questions she asks in class, the faculty member suggested, “I believe it would be better for everyone if you kept a sheet of paper on your desk and wrote down the answers,” reports the paper.
The tips on how educators can work with students who stutter and other helpful resources can be found on the Stuttering Foundation’s Web site, http://www.stutteringhelp.org/.
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