Unit 3: Speech Intervention Strategies

3.1 Approaches to teaching speech: Auditory Global Approach; Multi-sensory Syllable unit approach; Ling’s Approach

3.2 Formulation of Lesson plan: Long term goals; Short term goals; Activities for teaching correct production of various vowels and consonants

3.3 Orientation to acoustics of speech

3.4 Strategies for production of speech: Modelling & Shaping through Auditory, Visual, Tactile modalities

3.5 Individual and Group speech teaching: Strengths and challenges











3.1 Approaches to teaching speech: Auditory Global Approach; Multi-sensory Syllable unit approach; Ling’s Approach


Various speech intervention strategies are described in the literature. These can be carried out in various settings such as therapy center, school and also at home. Many strategies are designed for individual child, depending on specific needs of the child. Also there are strategies which can be carried out in group settings. Each strategy have its own advantages and disadvantages. Speech training can be imparted by a single trainer/specialist or a group of trainers can be involved. The group can either consist professionals from same specialty or can be from varied specialties such as speech therapist, special educator, psychologist etc. The team teaching concept needs well skilled professionals and a very good planning. Moreover it yields a very satisfactory outcome.

Auditory global method

auditory global method: A general term describing an approach to teaching deaf people communication where the main channel for speech and language development is auditory (although not always exclusive) and fluent, connected speech is the means of input.

For correct acquisition and production of speech the child must have an intact auditory channel. The child listens to adult speech, internalizes them and then starts producing them. The journey from starting to produce a speech sound to fully master its production needs lot of self- corrections by the child him/herself. He/she hears to adult speech, imitates and learn from it as a model then produces it correctly by self corrections (with the help of auditory feedback).

However the child also uses other cues such as visual, kinesthetic along with auditory cues for speech acquisition. In case of children with hearing impairment mainly the auditory channel is used, along with the other sensory channels. The selection of modality depends on the child's hearing level after amplification. For example incase of minimum benefit from amplification device, the visual, and tacti Ie modes are largely used to supplement the minimum residual hearing.

The term "auditory global" was given by Calvert and Silverman (1975). It mainly stresses the use of auditory method with minimum or no use of visual and tactile cues. The authors also emphasised early and continuous use of amplification device, comprehensive intervention at school as well as home, natural methods to model and teach speech and use of connected speech.

The Auditory Verbal Approach focuses on a listening and spoken language objective without the visual support provided through lipreading.

Auditory-verbal approach is a logical teaching method. It aims to guide children with hearing loss to use their residual hearing capacity with appropriate hearing aids or cochlear implants. This allows them to learn to speak through hearing. This approach also guides parents or main caregivers to help children with hearing loss develop hearing and verbal communication skills through auditory verbal stimulation in their daily life. The objective of the approach is to enable children with hearing loss to communicate with the society without limitations. Ultimately, they can achieve their full potential and live independently in the future.

Characteristics of Auditory-Verbal Approach

1.      Effective audiological management

2.      Emphasis on making use of audio cues rather than visual ones

3.      Using speech sounds as the major hearing stimulation

4.      Individualized one-to-one diagnostic sessions

5.      Deep involvement of parents/main caregivers

6.      Teaching pre-school children based on their natural developmental stages

7.      Professional teams engagement 

Multi-sensory syllable unit approach

As the name suggests the auditory channel is accompanied by other sensory channels. It is useful for children with limited residual hearing. Visual and tactile stimulation is used with auditory stimulation. Written forms /orthographic representation of sounds, words are used along with oral speech. Labelling is used for all the vocabulary in the child's environment.

Ling’s approach:


Training programme is based on:


– Acoustic characteristic of speech

– Emphasis on listening aided by amplification

– Involves segments as well as supra segmental

– Recognizes need to attain vocal system, respiration, motor control and coordination. Prior to use of speech in meaningful contexts.


Ling emphasized that speech should be taught at phonetic level rather than phonological level. Child’s ability to detect all six sounds demonstrates that ability to detect all aspects of speech.

The Ling model represents seven stages of development at both the phonetic (syllable) level and the phonologic (spoken language) level. Ling's order of teaching vowels and consonants is not designed to be developmental stages, though many are, but are designed specifically with the hearing impaired child in mind.

Ling has written a structured set of subskills for the development of each voice pattern and speech sound (Ling, 1976). While Ling stresses the use of auditory input, he also provides many visual and tactile strategies which are appropriate for children with little or no hearing (Ling & North, 1990). These visual and tactile prompts are removed as the child learns to rely more on auditory and kinesthetic feedback.

Ling's seven stages of development can be divided into four major areas: (1) Voice patterns; (2) Vowels and Diphthongs; (3) Consonants; (4) Blends.

Voice Patterns

Variations in vocal duration, intensity (loudness) and pitch are the "personality" of spoken language. Prosodic and voice features are stressed initially and must continue to be practiced at every stage of development; Cued Speech can be used to communicate the importance of voice patterns.

Vowels and Diphthongs

Vowel development precedes consonant development and is ongoing as more difficult consonants emerge. The voice patterns "ride on" vowels and diphthongs. It is impossible to produce adequate differences in duration, loudness and pitch without vocal manipulation of vowels (except with some unique consonants such as /m/ and /n).

Three main vowels are taught first: /ee/ - front; /ah/ - mid; and /oo/ back. They are then combined to produce the first two diphthongs: /ah-oo/ for /ow/ (as in cow); and, /ah-ee/ for /ai/ (as in pie). The same three vowels serve as the cornerstones from which all other vowels and diphthongs may be taught. In addition, vowels serve as the basis for development of semivowels /w/ and /y/. Alternation of /oo-ah/ - /oo-ah/ produce /wah/ and /oo-ee/ - /oo-ee/ will produce /wee/. Alternation of /ee-ah/-/ee-ah/ will produce /yah/ and /ee-oo/-/ee-oo/ will produce /yoo/. Cued Speech provides accurate input of the individual vowels, plus visually illustrates the blending of the two vowels to form the diphthong or the semivowel.


The Ling method is ideal for Cued Speech users who are first learning to distinguish consonant sounds on the lips. For the school-age child who may be learning Cued Speech late and has unintelligible speech, the use of Cued Speech in speech training will be helpful. If the teaching of cues can be coordinated with the order of teaching speech sounds, it will be very beneficial. As Ling introduces consonants that are progressively more difficult to produce and less visible on the lips, Cued Speech will help hearing-impaired children to distinguish and identify these sounds accurately. It is important that the Cued Speech instructor teach the Cued Speech system accurately and quickly to these late comers to speech therapy, for optimal benefit of the two approaches.


Once basic consonants are established in words, initial and final blends can be introduced as the student progresses to two or more syllable words and phrases. A coarticulation approach can be used at this point in the speech program to encourage naturally produced speech (Hudson, 1980). Cued Speech provides clear input for blends and for abutting consonants (when consonants are next to each other within a word or between words). Cued Speech helps to avoid confusion and omissions of consonants in clusters and blends.

Developed in 1976 by Ling. In this approach maximum use of residual hearing is advocated. In this approach the child is taught to understand speech of others as well as correct own speech production by using residual hearing. Two principals of Ling's approach are:

1: The hearing impaired child should be taught to develop speech in the same order as a normal hearing child will follow.

2) The speech organs move rapidly and precisely during speech production, which should be taught to hearing impaired children so that they can produce correct speech.



3.2 Formulation of Lesson plan: Long term goals; Short term goals; Activities for teaching correct production of various vowels and consonants


A lesson plan is a teacher’s daily guide for what students need to learn, how it will be taught, and how learning will be measured.

Lesson plans help teachers be more effective in the classroom by providing a detailed outline to follow each class period.

This ensures every bit of class time is spent teaching new concepts and having meaningful discussions — not figuring it out on the fly!

The most effective lesson plans have six key parts:

1.     Lesson Objectives

2.     Related Requirements

3.     Lesson Materials

4.     Lesson Procedure

5.     Assessment Method

6.     Lesson Reflection

lesson plan is a teacher’s guide for facilitating a lesson. It typically includes the goal (what students need to learn), how the goal will be achieved (the method of delivery and procedure) and a way to measure how well the goal was reached (usually via homework assignments or testing). This plan is a teacher’s objectives for what students should accomplish and how they will learn the material. Here, a teacher must plan what they want to teach students, why a topic is being covered and decide how to deliver a lecture. Learning objectives, learning activities and assessments are all included in a lesson plan. No two lesson plans are the same. 

Goals are specific objectives that help us to plan our activities and strategies. 

One of the most popular goal-setting strategies is the “SMART” criteria, which ensures goals are focused.

In the context of lesson planning, you can use the SMART criteria to determine your lesson objectives:

For each objective, it’s important to start with an action that relates to what students should be able to do after the lesson.

Short term goal- these are planned for short time period.e.g. 15 days /30 days. Usually easy and small targets yield better motivation to both the therapist and the child. At a time 3-4 short term goals can be achieved. These are expected to be achieved in the predefined time period. Once achieved, the task complexity is increased. In case of failure, the step may be repeated with an altered procedure and tools. The STM should be measurable, clear, realistic and verifiable.

Long Term Goal- It is a target or goal which is a final destination or level at which we want the child to reach over a longer period of time .e.g. six months. So that he matches his peers as closely as possible and can be gradually mainstreamed.

Activities for teaching various vowels and consonants

The teaching can generally be carried out using the following techniques:

1. Modelling the speech sound to the child. Initially only auditory mode can be used, if the child failed to do so, other modes can be introduced. e.g. for teaching the child to produce /i/, the sound can be shown in writing to the child and the therapist can keep on modelling its production, repetitively, till the child starts showing attempts to produce it. If the child has limited residual hearing that is has limited benefit from amplification device cues of visual and tactile cues can be introduced. The therapist can show the production of the vowel to the child, can physically guide the child's articulators to help produce the sound. The child has to be reinforced upon correct production of the sound. The sound is first taught in isolation then in combination with other vowels, other aspects like long vs short vowel are introduced later.

2. Imitation- Imitation of the therapist's vowel /consonant production is encouraged. The child is asked to listen and produce the target sound. In case of limited residual hearing, use of visual /tactile cues along with auditory cues give opportunity for the child to imitate the sound.

3. Repetitive drills- CV combinations, CVC combinations are practiced through speech drills. The combination of CV is also altered to make all possible combinations of the target sound. /pa,pi,pu,po,pe/ and /pa,pa,pa,pa/. Though the sounds are meaningless, these ensure improvement in the precision of movements of articulators.

4. The teaching usually starts with vowels. Initially the child may be taught just to vocalise and extend it with all the vowels.e.g /aaaaaaaa ...........//iiiii....../ etc. The therapist should always encourage a good quality of voice which sounds natural and pleasing. It should be loud enough, not nasalised, and should be produced with adequate mouth opening. Simultaneously the therapist has to encourage the child to monitor his/her own voice through auditory feedback.

5. In case of consonants, the easily visible consonants, voiced consonants are selected first.e.g. /b/ has to be taught earlier than /g/ or /p/. However in some children, there can be some amount of speech already present, which can be utilised to expand his/her utterances. The therapist can refer to the normal developmental sequence of consonants, and select the consonants serially. E.g. the production of consonants like /s/,/ch/ and /t/ develop after 4 years of chronological age, the same will apply to hearing impaired children, it's pointless to teach a 2 years old to produce the sound /s/!!

6. Once the child has learnt to produce consonants is isolation, gradually these can be taught into higher units, bisyllabic words, words, phrases etc. E.G. Once the child has learnt to say /ta/, he/she can be taught to say /tata/ meaningfully.

7. For carrying out above activities tools like mirror, tongue depressors, hand gloves, candle, paper bits, and graphical representation of the letters on flash cards are extremely useful. The use of toys and other rein forcers make the activities fulfilled and interesting.

8. Parents and caregivers should be actively involved in the training activities and should be counselled to practice the learnt sounds at home.

9. It's helpful to set targets and expected responses to achieve success. E.g. If our target consonant is /t/,the child should be able to utter it 3 times out of 5 trials, which ensures us to take the child to the next level.

10. All the learned vowels and consonants should be retrained at a regular interval to achieve stabilisation.



3.3 Orientation to acoustics of speech


The human ability to vocalize sound, as well as the soundmaking abilities of other species, is amazingly complex and endlessly fascinating. Speech, song, and non-verbal behaviour is central to all aspects of individual and cultural development, and therefore plays an extremely important role in acoustic communication.

In many cases, when we turn to the study of acoustics and psychoacoustics, we can find strong evidence that vocal soundmaking establishes many of the norms for understanding sound in general, particularly the way in which spectral and temporal patterns are produced and processed by the auditory system.

We can only summarize here the most basic information in this extensive field, as subdivided into these categories.

·      The acoustics of speech production: vowels and consonants

·      Linguistic descriptions of vowels and consonants

·      Reading a sonogram

·      Voice and sound making on a personal and interpersonal level; paralanguage

·      Sound making in cultural contexts

·      Cross-cultural forms of vocal sound making

·      Review Quiz

Speech is produced by forcing air from our lungs through our trachea and the rest of the vocal tract. For some speech sounds, such as vowels, the air pressure causes the vocal folds to vibrate, thus providing the sound waves that we define as speech.

It is the shape of the vocal tract between the glottis (vocal cords) and the lips that determines which speech sound(s) are produced. The vocal tract constricts and expands in crucial places to change the resonant frequencies associated with a speech sound.   All phonemes or distinct units of speech defined for a certain language, have identifying resonant frequencies known as formant frequencies. The movement of one’s articulators (i.e lips, tongue, teeth, throat) can change these and result in different sounds.

·      Anatomy Picture 2Anatomical diagrams of human vocal tract from Acoustic Phonetics by Kenneth N. Stevens

·      Anatomy Picture 1

Speech acoustics only reflect how a speaker is speaking on a particular occasion; however, just like any other parameter, they are not invariant and show both within-speaker as well as between-speaker variation. But for Successful comparison between speech samples requires well-controlled data from different occasions.

The vocal tract

The vocal tract, including the larynx, pharynx and oral cavities, have a great effect on the timbre of the sound. Namely, the shape of the vocal tract determines the resonances and anti-resonances of the acoustic space, which boost and attenuate different frequencies of the sound. The shape is determined by a multitude of components, in particular by the position of the jaw, lips and tongue. The resonances are easily modified by the speaker and perceived by the listener, and they can thus be used in communication to convey information. Specifically, the acoustic features which differentiate vowels from each other are the frequencies of the resonances in the vocal tract, corresponding to specific places of articulation primarily in terms of tongue position. Since the air can flow relatively unobstructed, vowel sounds tend to have high energy and loudness compared to consonants.

In consonant sounds, there is a partial or full obstruction at some part of the vocal tract. For instance, fricative consonants are characterized by a narrow gap between the tongue and front/top of the mouth, leading to hiss-like turbulent air flow. In plosives, the airflow in the vocal tract is fully temporarily obstructed. As an example, bilabial plosives are characterized by temporary closure of the lips, which leads to accumulation of air pressure in the vocal tract due to sustained lung pressure. When the lips are opened, the accumulated air is released together with a short burst sound (plosion) that has impulse- and noise-like characteristics. Similarly to vowels, the place of the obstruction in the mouth (i.e., place of articulation) will affect the acoustic characteristics of the consonant sound by modifying the acoustic characteristics of the vocal tract. In addition, manner of articulation is used to characterize different consonant sounds, as there are several ways to produce speech while the position of the primary obstruction can remain the same (e.g., short taps and flaps, repeated trills, or already mentioned narrow constrictions for fricatives).

In terms of vocal tract shape, a special class of consonants are the nasals, which are produced with velum (a soft structure at the back top of the oral cavity) open, thereby allowing air to flow to the nasal cavity. When the velum is open, the vocal tract can be viewed as a shared tube from the larynx to the back of the mouth, after which the tract is divided into two parallel branches consisting of the oral and nasal cavities. Coupling of the nasal cavity to the vocal tract has a pronounced impact on the resonances and anti-resonance of the tract. This is commonly perceived as nasalization of speech sounds by listeners. 



3.4 Strategies for production of speech: Modelling & Shaping through Auditory, Visual, Tactile modalities


The word Modality like the word Spouse can mean different things depending upon who is using it.  To some the word Spouse means a companion, a friend and an object of affection.  To others it may mean a monster, a liar or a jailor.  

To the Philosopher it is the qualification in a proposition that indicates that what is affirmed or denied is possible, impossible, necessary, contingent and some other things.  So much for these notions, and there are others.  

Strategies may have auditory, visual, and tactile components. However, some strategies may be exclusive to one modality. For example, manipulation is primarily a tactile strategy with a possible visual component. Phonemes should be taught first through audition.

To the Medical Profession a Modality may be the faculty through which the external world is apprehended.  Hence, it can refer to a sense-organ or a specific sensory channel (system), such as in vision or hearing.  Seeing and hearing, of course, are not just functions of the transducers (i.e., the eyes and ears which convert stimuli from the environment into analogous patters of electro chemical impulses in the brain). They involve a complex neurological infra structure that exists beyond the transducer to organize and interpret the stimuli. 

To Some Education Theorists, Modalities are Learning Systems which can be reduced to channels such as the visualauditory and motor modalityVisual children tend to learn by watching and looking at pictures and may be easily distracted by movement and action in the classroom. Auditory children tend to learn by being told, respond to verbal instructions, and may be easily distracted by noise.     Those who respond to motor/kinesthetic stimuli tend to be involved and active, and would rather do than watch, and prefer 'hands on' projects.  Language skills have also been similarly classified by modality.  The Illinois Test of Psycholinguistic Ability is a case in point.  It makes an assessment of the Auditory and Visual modalities to determine which is functioning the best for learning and communication, and which may be significantly impaired, and if so, where the breakdown in the pathway may have occurred.

The concept of Learning Modalities is useful in AAC.  It provides a framework for understanding the redundancy of language in the pathways of the brain.  We will review three Learning Modalities for this purpose.  These are the AuditoryVisual and Haptic Modalities.  

Modalities:  TactileKinesthetic and Vestibular.  So there are really five! Well, there is more than that if we consider gustatory and olfactory tracks, but we wonŐt at least for now.   Each modality, with the possible exception of the Vestibular (the sense of balance), can support language and the communication processes.  When communication breaks down (or fails to develop), it is necessary to examine each modality in detail to determine where the break may have occurred and what alternate routes may be possible without and/or with the aid of technology.  This is referred to as Task Analysis

The Auditory Modality consists of the neural system that extends between the receptive transducer (the ear) and the expressive transducer, the mechanisms for speech.  Phonemes, of course, are the basic unit for social communication in this modality.  Hence, speech is the most typical form of encoding involved. Morse Code would be another possibility.  These, as we discussed are based on a system of symbols. 

Because in Semiotics the manner in which information is encoded is considered a modality, both the stimuli and any motor responses to the stimuli could be considered as additional segments of the modality structure.  Other modality segments for the Auditory modality then would include messages that are encoded as signs.  Examples, as we discussed earlier, are nominal graded signs (viz., stomach rumbling, burping etc.); nominal combinative signs (echolalia); expressive graded signs (viz., moans, shouts, crying and laughing, etc.); and expressive combinative signs (viz., swearing, singing, social speech forms such as, ŇHow are you today,Ó idioms, and proverbs, etc.)  These provide many possible options for variation in the Auditory Modality, some of which can and do operate simultaneously. These options also provide a redundancy in communication for alternative routing when a segment of the modality is disabled. If speech fails, for example, communication may still be possible through Morse Code.  Yes, it is true that friends of a disabled patient may not be able or willing to learn Morse Code, but a computer will, and can even convert the code into speech! 

The Visual Modality includes those neural systems that extend between the receptive transducer (the eye) and the expressive transducers (the motor mechanisms required for writing, and/or Sign Language, Pantomime and gestures.)  Writing and Sign Language are based on symbols such as graphemes (written letters) and visual patters of space and movement (the Signs of Sign Language).  But there are many other communications based on signs.  Examples of these are nominal graded (viz., thrashing and crying); nominal combinative (viz., pointing, gesturing etc.); expressive graded (viz., body Language) and expressive combinative (viz., swearing gestures, and social routines like opening a door and letting someone else go first). 

The Haptic Modality is yet another channel within the brain that can support the processes of language. This modality, however, is a composite of two more basic modalities--the Tactile and the Proprioceptive Modalities.

1.  The Tactile Modality is the sense of touch and, of course, is very familiar to us. Its receptive transducer is the system of nerve endings just under the skin. The role of the Tactile Modality in our cognitive development may be underestimated by most of us. Tactile modality plays a major role in the childŐs exploration of the environment.   It helps a baby to develop an awareness of the body's limits, of which the new born baby is unaware.  It helps us to keep tabs of where we are in space. We can gage much about our body position from what we feel through our feet on the floor and from our seat and back against a chair.  Knowing where we are in space is paramount to the development of many language concepts (e.g., prepositional phrases) and language skills (e.g., discriminating "b" from "d" from "q" from "p."  Hence, as you observe a baby, you may notice that they spend much time touching and rubbing against things with their hands, feet, legs, lips and tongue.  This is as much a process of serious study and exploration as is the busy bustling of a scientist about his laboratory.

2.  The Proprioceptive Modality is also two sub modalities experienced as one: The Kinesthetic and Vestibular Modalities.        

3.  The Kinesthetic Modality is tantamount our "eyes" looking inward to our own body. The transducer for the Kinesthetic modality is the system of nerve endings in the joints of the body, and in the muscles. Like the sense of touch, it is very important to the development of body awareness. In fact in cases where this process fails, a person can totally loose the awareness of a body part! To the baby, the kinesthetic sense is also a basic ruler for exploring and understanding the environment. Initially, visual (or auditory) images provide no real information to the baby about the properties of referents (things) such as angles, sizes, shapes, distances or mass. This is information is obtained first hand (no pun intended) as the baby comes into physical contact with and manipulates the referents in their environment. The baby's hands, feet or mouth are constantly probing objects that are within their grasp--rattles, blocks, rails on the crib, balls, table legs, fingers, etc.  These objects' properties are measured by the kinesthetic sensory system, which calculates and stores body angle, tension and fatigue etc.  This information is cross referenced with the Visual and Auditory Modalities to give them a bases for meaning.  The Vestibular Modality also plays a role in this exploration by providing a reference in space around which positions of up and down can be determined. Symbolically, the Kinesthetic Modality alone can support language in the form of Braille, writing, typing and touch Signing to name a few forms.

One goal of early education is to provide young children with as many opportunities as possible to examine many different referents. The ultimate goal is to develop concepts upon which language can be mapped.  The story of Montessori is a grand example of using the Haptic modality for this purpose. The Montessori approach stresses a hands-on exploration at an early age.  But it is just this modality and these types of experiences that are denied to the severely motor disabled child.  This child because of his/her impairment is unable to interact with and explore the environment.  The consequence is a lack of information upon which to develop basic concepts about the world and around which language can be developed. Later in life, the motor impaired child may not have as much to communicate about because of this dearth of concepts.  Hence, language and communication are impaired two times overŃbecause of a language delay, and because of the motor impairment.  .



3.5 Individual and Group speech teaching: Strengths and challenges


Individualized Teaching Strategy

Individualized instruction is also known as differentiated instruction. Individualized instruction strategy refers to those classroom practices of teaching which recognize the uniqueness of each student learner and thus provide for adequate tutorial guidance, and other support services suited to bring about a wholesome development in the person (mind, body, and spirit). Individualized instruction is about using teaching strategies that connect with individual student's learning strategies. The ultimate goal is to provide a learning environment that will maximize the potential for student success.In this strategy the teacher shouldn't always stick to the same pattern of teaching rather they should adapt new ways such as teaching through audio, video, field trip, etc. so that students have multiple options for taking in information and making sense of ideas. The intent of individualizing instruction is to maximize each student's growth and individual success by meeting each student where he or she is, and assisting in the learning process. It provides the opportunity for students to learn at their own pace, in their own way, and be successful.


1. Student-Centric

Differentiated instruction focuses on the academic needs and learning abilities of every individual student. By changing the methods of teaching to suit students, teachers are able to adjust the content of the syllabus. This encourages critical thinking in students, and gives them a chance to come forward and demonstrate what they have learned. It also creates a sense of equality among students, including the ones with a learning disability. Differentiated learning provides ample opportunity for students to aim and attain academic success with aplomb.

2. Raises The Bar

Advocates of this teaching approach believe differentiated learning raises the standards of learning in a big way. The true essence of this practice lies in the realization that learners and their abilities, readiness and interests vary. Educators have the liberty to set up classrooms and devise methods that would aid all students in thinking, analyzing and comprehending the teaching contents easily. Differentiation does not have hard and fast rules; it is all about options.


1. Time constraints and chopped-up schedules are an obstacle. Teachers could work better if they had longer blocks of time with students. At the elementary level, kids have to go somewhere or someone comes in to do something every 15-30 minutes; at the secondary level, kids rotate in and out every 37 or 42 minutes. It makes teachers crazy.

2. Class size and teaching load are two of the biggest constraints. A teacher who works with 150 kids a day gets glassy-eyed when told he needs to get to know those kids better. It's doable, but we would be far more efficient by arranging schedules so teachers had fewer students to get to know or kept them over longer periods of time.

3. Teacher Preparedness. Sometimes, the teacher's lack of adequate knowledge on individualizing instruction could also serve as a serious obstacle in individualizing instruction in the classroom. The teacher's lack of knowledge and ignorance could be further aggravated when the school does not have the essential resources to support individualized or differentiated instruction.


Using Group Work and teamwork. Co-operative learning involves having students work together to maximize their own and one another's learning(Johnson,Johnson & Smith,1991). Team teaching involves a group of instructors working purposefully, regularly, and cooperatively to help a group of students of any age learn. Teachers together set goals for a course, design a syllabus, prepare individual lesson plans, teach students, and evaluate the results. They share insights, argue with one another, and perhaps even challenge students to decide which approach is better. Teams can be single-discipline, interdisciplinary, or school-within-a-school teams that meet with a common set of students over an extended period of time. The team-teaching approach allows for more interaction between teachers and students. Faculty evaluate students on their achievement of the learning goals; students evaluate faculty members on their teaching proficiency. Emphasis is on student and faculty growth, balancing initiative and shared responsibility, specialization and broadening horizons, the clear and interesting presentation of content and student development, democratic participation and common expectations, and cognitive, affective, and behavioral outcomes. This combination of analysis, synthesis, critical thinking, and practical applications can be done on all levels of education, from kindergarten through graduate school.


Students do not all learn at the same rate. Periods of equal length are not appropriate for all learning situations. Educators are no longer dealing primarily with top-down transmission of the tried and true by the mature and experienced teacher to the young, immature, and inexperienced pupil in the single-subject classroom. Schools are moving toward the inclusion of another whole dimension of learning: the lateral transmission to every sentient member of society of what has just been discovered, invented, created, manufactured, or marketed. For this, team members with different areas of expertise are invaluable. Of course, team teaching is not the only answer to all problems plaguing teachers, students, and administrators. It requires planning, skilled management, willingness to risk change and even failure, humility, open-mindedness, imagination, and creativity. But the results are worth it.

Teamwork improves the quality of teaching as various experts approach the same topic from different angles: theory and practice, past and present, different genders or ethnic backgrounds. Teacher strengths are combined and weaknesses are remedied. Poor teachers can be observed, critiqued, and improved by the other team members in a nonthreatening, supportive context. The evaluation done by a team of teachers will be more insightful and balanced than the introspection and self-evaluation of an individual teacher.


Team teaching is not always successful. Some teachers are rigid personality types or may be wedded to a single method. Some simply dislike the other teachers on the team. Some do not want to risk humiliation and discouragement at possible failures. Some fear they will be expected to do more work for the same salary. Others are unwilling to share the spotlight or their pet ideas or to lose total control. Team teaching makes more demands on time and energy. Members must arrange mutually agreeable times for planning and evaluation. Discussions can be draining and group decisions take longer. Rethinking the courses to accommodate the team teaching method is often inconvenient.

Opposition may also come from students, parents, and administrators who may resist change of any sort. Some students flourish in a highly structured environment that favors repetition. Some are confused by conflicting opinions. Too much variety may hinder habit formation.