‘Off the Radar:’ the Framing of Speech, Language and Communication in the Description of Children with Special Educational Needs in Literacy

Maria A. Mroz


This paper considers how pre-service primary teachers in England (trainees) are supported to work with children with special educational needs (SEN) using a personalized learning task. The focus, in particular, considers how speech, language and communication skills are foregrounded in the reports describing children with moderate learning difficulties including difficulties with literacy. The context recognizes the importance of pupils’ spoken and receptive language development and the prevalence of children categorized as having speech, language and communication needs (SLCN) and the educational, social and emotional impact of this disability. However analysis of sixty five reports identified only four children with SLCN. In contrast eighteen 5-7 year old children were identified who were struggling with literacy. Analysis was conducted on this sub-set due to the close links between reading development and spoken language skills. The analysis explored the question ‘what do trainees’ descriptions of literacy reveal about their understanding of speech, language and communication?’ Results revealed that speech, language and communication skills were referred to only briefly and with some limitations in understanding. Further analysis explored the task design and considered to what extent it supports trainees in referring to knowledge about speech, language and communication in practice. The article concludes that the personalized learning task could be adapted to ensure greater development of knowledge of speech, language and communication and the role of teacher talk. It considers the challenges posed for mentoring where the prevailing social semiotics of the classroom emphasizes performativity (Ball, 2003) over a more holistic view of children.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.11114/jets.v2i3.382


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Journal of Education and Training Studies  ISSN 2324-805X (Print)   ISSN 2324-8068 (Online)

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