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Teacher Tips

Martin and Vivien suggest the following solutions to problems you may face:


The learner is absent.

• Try to arrange two sessions on one day — early morning and late afternoon.

• Extend the 4 weeks (or whatever time you have chosen) to make up for the absences.


Half term/school camp etc falls in the middle of the programme.

• Plan a more appropriate starting time next time.

• Add time on after the break for revision.

• Carry on until the twenty sessions have been completed.


The first sentences are too hard.

• Stop using the sentences but not the system.

• Consider breaking the materials down into smaller, more manageable chunks.

• Use other strategies in parallel with or instead of the talking computer.


Later sentences are too hard.

• See previous point.

See also materials which are available through iansyst Ltd which can be used as supplementary resources.

• Discuss the ‘stuck bits’ with the Special Needs Co-ordinator.

Other strategies might be needed.

• Miss the difficult sentences out and return later.

• Why are they stuck?


The learner forgets the sentence part way through typing.

• Say the sentence to the child.


The computer makes the wrong pronunciation.

• ’Read’ can be said two ways. Your computer will be programmed to speak only one of these. Use the error as a discussion/teaching point. Explain the limitations of the computer. Can you (the child) think of any other words which will fool the computer? Make an on-going list.

• The computer makes a bad pronunciation.

• As in the previous point. Are you able to work out why the computer says it that way?

• Change the pronunciation if you know how.


The learner shows no motivation.

• Discuss with the child. Are other factors affecting them?

• If still no change after you have exhausted all of your skills in raising interest leave it. Try again at a later date perhaps.


The sentences move forward too quickly.

• Create your own extension materials to reinforce that particular area.


Do I have to do 20 lots of 20 minutes?

• We did. You do not.


What do I do after 4 weeks?

• Move on to another group of children.

• Consider putting the same children on again after a rest period.

• Let the learner use the talking app for creative/curriculum based work.


The sentence is meaningless.

• If you do not like it, don’t use it.

• Change it.


The learner cannot be released from lessons (Secondary).

• Use the argument of ’short-term disruption for long-term gain’.

• Get the support of management.

• Negotiate release with your colleagues.

• Arrange priority access to the learner for four weeks. It’s only for 6 hours.

• Use your own time (not advised).


The learner cannot be released from lessons (Primary).

• This has not been encountered in our experience. If so see the previous point.

The learning assistant is developing bizarre behaviour patterns.

• Ten children each day may be too many.

• When running this for the first time be realistic. Start with a couple of children. You also have a lot of learning to do in the early stages.


A learner makes no progress.

• Not even in motivation, confidence or computing skills?

• Progress can be measured in many ways.

• Try retesting some weeks later. Consolidation might have taken place.