You heard me right! 80% of your class could at some point have a hearing loss that affects their ability to listen, to discriminate and to join in conversations. This may explain a lot, but it won’t help you teach them!
Remember that to say a sound pupils must be able to hear it first. And not just hear it but discriminate it from other sounds and identify it (know what it’s called).
There are several reasons why kids get mixed up with groups of sounds. A lot of these mistakes happen when children are learning to listen. Like any other skill we learn growing up listening goes through stages. some pupils are delayed and we have to help those children catch-up.
Let me try and illustrate this point to you in a bit more detail. Ok, go and find a mirror, go on, get a mirror, I’ll wait here….
Ok, have you got one? Right, I am going to demonstrate how important listening is for discriminating between sounds. So, Look in the mirror and silently say the sounds “p”, “b”, “m” what do you notice? They all look the same! Ok now try “t”, “d”, “n” weird right! And “k”, “g”, “ng.” There are sets of phonemes that are produced in exactly the same place in the mouth and with the same duration. unless you can discriminate between them it’s impossible to know which one to say and use.
Often when we are trying to teach sounds to pupils we ask them to watch our lips. Actually, this isn’t always the most useful advice. A pupil must discriminate between these sounds before they can identify them and then produce them.