Unit 4: Communication and Language Teaching Strategies

4.1 Methods of teaching language: Natural, Structural and Combined

4.2 Principles and Techniques of developing language

4.3 Communication options: Compare and contrast

4.4 Communication options: justification and challenges

4.5 Tuning the environment (Home & School) for facilitating language & Communication















4.1 Methods of teaching language: Natural, Structural and Combined


Teaching a foreign language can be a challenging but rewarding job that opens up entirely new paths of communication to students. It’s beneficial for teachers to have knowledge of the many different language learning techniques including ESL teaching methods so they can be flexible in their instruction methods, adapting them when needed.

Keep on reading for all the details you need to know about the most popular foreign language teaching methods. Some of the ones covered are the communicative approach, total physical response, the direct method, task-based language learning, suggestopedia, grammar-translation, the audio-lingual approach and more.

Natural Approach

The natural method is a communicative view of language which stresses the fact that language is composed of different parts. It recognizes the difference between learning a language consciously and unconsciously. It is also known as a direct method of teaching. 

This approach aims to mimic natural language learning with a focus on communication and instruction through exposure. It de-emphasizes formal grammar training. Instead, instructors concentrate on creating a stress-free environment and avoiding forced language production from students.

Teachers also do not explicitly correct student mistakes. The goal is to reduce student anxiety and encourage them to engage with the second language spontaneously.

Classroom procedures commonly used in the natural approach are problem-solving activities, learning games, affective-humanistic tasks that involve the students’ own ideas, and content practices that synthesize various subject matter, like culture. The Natural Approach takes its cues from how first language is naturally learned by children. That process is then simulated for teaching adults a second language.

Just as there’s a “silent period” when babies don’t utter a single comprehensible word, the Natural Approach gives time for learners to simply listen and absorb the language. Producing correctly pronounced words and phrases comes later in the learning curve. The emergence of speech isn’t a first priority. Listening comprehension is the priority.

So, early on in the process, students don’t need to speak at all. They have to observe, to read the situation, to guess the meanings of words, to make mistakes and self-correct, just like babies!

In addition, the Natural Approach sees a difference between “learning” and “acquisition.”

Learning a language requires textbooks, grammar lessons and rote memory. Acquiring a language only requires an immersive process of repetition, correction and recall. While other methods have teachers leading students in a choral pronunciation of words written on a board, the Natural Approach has the teacher bouncing a ball and repeatedly saying “ball.” She’s also showing them pictures of different kinds of “balls.” She has the class play a game with the object. Or she hides the object and says, “find the ball!”

The Natural Approach believes that the more the students lose themselves in the activity, the better their handle on the language will be.


Advantages of Natural approach:
— students acquire the target language in a natural and easy way.
— well-designed and carefully chosen materials ensure that the students  acquire language from easy to difficult, from simple to complex, and from concrete to abstract.
— the natural approach creates an excellent environment for beginners.
—  students interact in meaningful situations at their own level.
— this approach requires all activities to be engaging and motivating

Disadvantages of Natural Approach:
— students may speak fluently, but not always accurately
— amassing engaging, meaningful tasks this approach requires is quite a bit of work for the teacher
— doesn’t seem as effective for more advanced students
— some students require a more demanding approach in order to improve


Structural Approach

Structures refer to the different patterns of arrangement of words. The structural approach to teaching English is based on the belief that the scientific selection and grading of vocabulary and structures is the best way to learn a language. Hornby found out that there are almost 275 structures in English and learners must be able to master them all.

Proponents of the structural approach understand language as a set of grammatical rules that should be learned one at a time in a specific order. It focuses on mastering these structures, building one skill on top of another, instead of memorizing vocabulary. This is similar to how young children learn a new language naturally.

An example of the structural approach is teaching the present tense of a verb, like “to be,” before progressing to more advanced verb tenses, like the present continuous tense that uses “to be” as an auxiliary.

The structural approach teaches all four central language skills: listening, speaking, reading, and writing. It’s a technique that teachers can implement with many other language teaching methods.

Most ESL textbooks take this approach into account. The easier-to-grasp grammatical concepts are taught before the more difficult ones.


Structural approaches believe that language can be reduced to a learnable set of building blocks. There are rules, known as grammar and syntax, that govern how to combine these basic elements. These rules can be memorized to achieve a high level of proficiency in a language.

Some proponents would even go so far as saying that there’s a predetermined sequence in which a language should be learned. Grammar textbooks are the most commonly used material in this category.

Merits of Structural Approach

1.     It imparts the knowledge of structures in English to facilitate language learning.

2.     Students can gain mastery of over 275 basic vocabularies and structures by the time they finish school.

3.     The child learns word order, use of words, and grammar automatically after learning the structure of sentences.

4.     It is called ‘English through play way’ because it encourages learners to use English every day.

5.     It focuses on the basic four language skills – learning, writing, speaking, and reading.

Demerits of Structural Approach

1.     The problem of teaching English is not solved by the selection and gradation of structures because it only helps the teacher to learn what is taught and what to teach next.

2.     The continuous teaching of structures can make the class dull, mechanical, and monotonous.

3.     It may be more suitable for junior classes but not applicable for higher classes with many branches of the English language.

4.     This approach follows a rigid methodology.

5.     It is time-consuming and completing the syllabus may be difficult.



Combined method: - Utilizes components of both structured and natural method.



4.2 Principles and Techniques of developing language


Early childhood practitioners have an essential role to play in supporting children’s language development. It is, after all, with them that many children spend most of their waking hours. It is therefore essential that early childhood practitioners develop an understanding of the principles of language development and how best to support it in their practice. This summary outlines six basic principles of language acquisition that have been confirmed in numerous studies over the past decades of linguistic research. After discussing each principle, we suggest a few ways in which early childhood practitioners could build on this knowledge to support children’s language development in their settings.

Principle 1: Children learn the words they hear most

Recent research has confirmed that one factor that helps children learn language, which is connected to success in school, is the number of words children hear on a regular basis. So, one thing we can all do is talk more with and around our very young children—infants, toddlers and preschoolers. Children need to hear the common words you use every day, so don’t make it short and sweet. Expand on what you are saying by adding details to your conversation. Talk about what you are doing. Even though they may not respond to what you are saying, they are listening, comparing, recalling and meaning-making by putting the pieces together.

Implications for your setting:

Principle 2: Interactive and responsive rather than passive context favours language learning—social interaction matters

When we say that “social interaction matters,” we are emphasizing the “back and forth” nature of communication. Research supports the fact that children need real-life exchanges with real people. Even though they hear language spoken on the television or computer, they do not learn much from the process because it is not fluid and interactive. It is not personal, like an exchange with another human being. During play, at meal times, while preparing for bed or reading a story are all excellent opportunities for family members or teachers to have conversations with children. We may be conversing in complex sentences and the child conversing in gestures or grunts, but it is a learning opportunity for our child that we don’t want to miss.

This has important implications for early childhood settings:

Other strategies include:


Principle 3: Children learn words for things and events that interest them

This principle emphasizes the self-centered aspect of young children. It is all about ME. They will give more attention to the things they care about, such as food they like, people they know and toys they play with. We may want to talk about how the dishwasher broke down in the middle of the cycle, but most young children will quickly lose interest in that topic. They would rather talk about the snow outside the window, wearing new red boots or their dog’s wet feet. This part is not rocket science.

Implications for the classroom:

Principle 4: Children learn words best in meaningful contexts

For young children, the immediate moment is more accessible to them than some of their memories. Talking with a child about an event that occurred in the past is not as interesting as what they are doing now. If teachers and family members can connect their words to playful experiences, such as enjoying walking through the snow to the house or toweling off after playing in the tub, children will be more attuned to learning the words that go with those experiences.

Further, this is why teachers should plan and use rich vocabulary to accompany learning experiences for children and add rich vocabulary into ordinary play experiences that children create for themselves. Using words such as “masterpiece,” “construct,” “structure” and “configuration” to the building activities in the block area will encourage new thoughts and new language.


Principle 5: Vocabulary learning and grammatical development are reciprocal processes

Exposing children to proper grammar and rich vocabulary will help them learn literacy through a natural process. It is not necessary to study and quiz children on grammar. As they are first learning to use language to communicate, they will make errors in grammar such as “Me do it” or “Lots of fishes.” However, if they habitually hear how to speak properly, they will absorb the rules of language and learn to correct their own grammar errors. This requires family members and teachers to monitor their own speech because we are the models from which our children learn. Anyone who has heard their preschooler use profanity can attest to this principle!


Principle 6: Children need to learn diverse examples of words and language structures

It is also important that children hear rich and diverse language to develop their vocabulary skills. Gestures supporting word learning can have an additional benefit. Studies on academic language development show that children who heard more ‘academic’ vocabulary aged five had larger vocabularies in second grade (Year 3), which in turn positively impacts reading development and academic achievement (Weizmann and Snow, 2001; Huttenlocher et al., 2002).


Language learning is related to the formation of a set of habits. In the case of learning one's mother tongue, though these principles are involved, a learner acquires the language, being unaware of it and without any conscious effort. But when a language is being acquired in a formal set up, as a second language, it becomes necessary for a language teacher to apply all these principles for the teaching and learning of a language. Sharma and Tuteja (2001) gave the principles of language learning which are as under:


1.  Principle of Speech

When a second language is taught in a school situation, it is common that the teacher follows LSRW skills. She follows oral approach in the beginning to teach the audio-lingual skills first followed by reading and writing. Language as we all know is vocal-auditory channel. This principle very clearly explains that without the primary knowledge of language patterns, speech is incomplete, imperfect and inefficient to decipher the written material. If the students   master the language orally, they will be ready to read and write as a follow up activity. Students who first learn to write or understand the script cannot as a rule learn to speak by thems elves. Teacher can use suitable models of speaking like tapes or disc recordings so that the students learn the language by imitation.


2.  Principle of Basic Sentences

These are practical principles advocated by almost all linguists based on psychological justification. Students can easily imitate or repeat longer utterances or sentences easily in their mother tongue rather than in a foreign language. The memory span of the child will be short and there is every chance that he forgets what he listens to, when he is learning a second language. The student cannot use the examples to understand the grammar or create other sentences by analogy because he does not remember them. To help him overcome this difficulty, he can start using and memorizing simple conversational sentences.


3.  Principle of Patterns as Habits

The primary aim of learning language is using it in day-to-day life. For writing, one can use sentences and they are constructed with the help of patterns. To know the language is to use its patterns of construction with appropriate vocabulary at normal speed for communication. Verbalizing or understanding a pattern is of little use until the student forms the habit to practice patterns. Practice will assist the student to learn and use the language through variation as related to the situation.


4.  Principle of Sound System

Language is spoken in form and is verbal in nature. Language should be taught to the students with the help of sound system. These sounds can be taught to the students through various methods like demonstration, imitation, props, contrast and practice. The sound system has to be taught with the use of structures and vocabulary. But the child cannot learn through mere observation. Partial attempts, drops in the form of articulator clues and minimal contracts eventually focus the phonemic differences and the child will learn to grasp the intricacies of sound. The introduction to sound system and enough practice will lead the child to get first hand experience. This helps him speak fluently. This practice leads to the development of other skills.


5.  Principle of Vocabulary Control

When a child begins to learn any language, one first learns to master the sound system and then grammatical patterns. To help one construct correct sentences, vocabulary should be taught. But this should be minimal, selected and graded properly. If too many words are thrust on the minds of the students, they cannot probably learn quickly. So, if the load of vocabulary is minimum at first, they can easily learn basic patterns and significant sounds. Vocabulary can be expanded later when these basic structures have been mastered through practice.


6.  Principle of Teaching the Problems

The child invariably learns first language and second language in a school situation.   It is also very true that there exist a lot of structural differences between the first language and the second language. These can be termed as problems. Though these are not exactly problems; they require conscious understanding. The teacher need not concentrate on these aspects in the beginning itself and teach the problems to the students. Instead, the teacher can present language in meaningful situations. This helps the students pick up language and its use clearly. Practice of language in situations will make the student learn language without any confusion.


7.  Principle of Writing as Representation of Speech

This principle means to say that teaching of the graphic symbols and the associations of these symbols with the language units they represent are separate tasks. It also implies that teaching reading and writing are distinct from teaching speech and should not be confused with it. Language learning is based on LSRW skills. The conventional and scientific principles of learning emphasize that language learning starts with the teaching of listening first. This can be done with the help of narration, stories, play-way methods and games. This orientation assists the students to speak. The teacher questions the student, elicits answers and makes it convenient for the student to interact. This is followed by intensive and extensive reading practice given with the help of prescribed reading material. After all these skills are mastered, writing can be finally taught as graphic representation of language units and patterns that the student already knows. It is also a psychologically proven method because sufficient knowledge of spoken language will always help one to read and write better.


8.  Principle of Graded Patterns

Patterns should be taught gradually in cumulative graded steps especially in second language teaching. This principle specifies that it is better to teach with the help of sentence patterns, rather than with the words. Early in teaching, there should be graded questions and responses, request and greetings as well as statements. This can be followed by sub-sentence elements such as, parts of speech, structure of sentences; words and modification structures. Later on, we can add new element or pattern to previous ones.


For example, one can teach questions with `do' form (Do you understand?) before teaching questions with interrogative words (What do you understand?). Once the `do' pattern has been taught, the what, when, where questions are more easily presented and understood. The whole of the language cannot be taught at one stretch. Even a child when learning second language can be taught the content which is selected and graded based on the frequency of how the words occur, the range, and limitation of the word, convenience and usability of the word in known situations, the scope of the word and the teach ability of the word.


9.     Principle of Language Practice versus Translation

It is a universal fact that languages are equal and important. But it is also true that no two languages are similar. There is no possibility of complete equivalents or substitutes in any two languages. Hence, word-to-word translations are impossible. If at all the translation is done, it tends to produce incorrect constructions. Psychologically, the process of translation is more complex, different and unnecessary for learning the LSRW skills. Several linguists like P. Gurrey support the theory that the teaching of mother-tongue and the teaching of a foreign language can support each other. It may be easy to get the meaning and learn about the differences in two languages this way, but this translation is only a last resort in the teaching of a second language. Instead, it is better to teach language through practice as it gives more concret knowledge and enough room for the student to learn the language.


10.  Principle of Authentic Language Standards

A language has to be taught as it is. A language is a structure of communication and no single dialect can be accepted as standard, the usage of people using the language should be taken into consideration. This principle implies to say that the language used by people is authentic. While it is being taught it has to be kept in mind that usage of language occupies prominent place in the learning of language.


11.  Principle of Practice

The student must be given practice in learning a language. Especially when it is a second language situation, the student must be engaged in practice most of the learning time. This principle has a psychological justification too as the performance of learning is in direct proportion to the amount of practice. Once the students acquire the LSRW skills, they should be drilled by making them do the work with the help of many assignments. The correlation with real life helps the students learn the language situationally and more meaningfully.


12.  Principle of Shaping Responses

In language-learning, the student finds it difficult to produce or hear the elements and structures different from those of his first language. This principle recommends two treatments to sharpen the response of the students while learning the first language. One method of teaching and shaping responses is to break up the response into smaller parts, practice and then attempt full response. In another way, responses can be shaped by giving articulator clues or other hints to help the student approximate the response. For teaching vocabulary and grammar, hints can ably be given to elicit proper responses. Similarly, for teaching verbs, tenses, etc., visual aids, diagrams, sketches; substitution tables can be used to get right responses.


13.  Principle of Language in Situations

We communicate with each other to express our thoughts, feelings, ideas and emotions with the help of language. Language is a social, cultural and geographical phenomenon. Man acquires language skills when one is exposed to real situations in the society one is living in. Even in a contrived or classroom situation, practicing language items can help in acquiring language. Proper use of motivating aids and illustrations in creating situatios can be more meaningful in teaching the learning process for meaningful acquisition of language.


14.  Principle of Learning as the Crucial Outcome

Language could be taught with scientific precision. Teaching is primarily for learning rather than for entertaining. For example, the entire language learning can be based on LSRW Skills. For instance, take a textual passage. When this is read to make the students listen to it, they will try to recognize the known concepts and words. The introduction of vocabulary and structures will help them get motivated. This also encourages them to speak. Also the students may be made to read out the same passage. Finally, they may also be given writing exercises. In a scientific approach, the amount of learning outweighs interest. Once the effectiveness of a technique is demonstrated, working to make it more absorbing is not necessary. These are the principles of language learning that give better scope for learning, especially a second language. These principles emphasize that teaching of a language should be done as naturally as possible. The child should be motivated so that he feels enthusiastic to learn the language. The above-discussed principles make it clear that language when acquired is influenced by various factors both psychological and sociological.


People with hearing loss and their families often need special skills to be able to learn language and communicate. These skills can be used together with hearing aids, cochlear implants, and other devices that help people hear. There are several approaches that can help, each emphasizing different language learning skills.

Some families choose a single approach because that’s what works best for them. Other people choose skills from two or more approaches because that’s what works best for them.

Following are language approaches, and the skills that are sometimes included in each of them:



4.3 Communication options: Compare and contrast


Communication features can be combined into different communication options, or methods. There are many philosophical differences about the superiority of one communication option over another. The bottom line is this – the best communication option for your child is the one that caregivers are willing and able to use comfortably and consistently and that meets the communication development needs of your child. No specific method will result in successful learning outcomes if caregivers and family members do not surround and immerse the child in whatever communication features comprise the method.

Mastering a communication outcome requires hard work and dedication on the part of the child and family. A child’s brain is ready to learn language at an early age, even though he or she will not be able to understand or communicate back right away. Remember that you are laying the foundation for communication proficiency from day one. It is important to stick with one option for long enough to determine that it is the right one for your child and your family.

The Listening and Spoken Language approach

The Listening and Spoken Language approach to language development teaches infants and young children with hearing loss to listen and talk with the support of hearing technology such as hearing aids, assistive listening devices (such as an FM system) or cochlear implants.

Hearing technology provides auditory stimulation and sets the stage for the development of listening while spoken language therapy teaches the child how to “listen” with the device and to translate what he or she is hearing into spoken language. In nearly every case, a child needs hearing technology that is appropriately fitted and worn 100 percent of his waking hours in addition to listening and spoken language therapy to develop an outcome.

The earlier the infant has access to auditory stimulation, the earlier he or she can take advantage of the benefits of “hearing,” or listening, and learn to talk, thus learning spoken language.

Parents and caregivers receive counseling and support in their role as the child’s most important teacher of language, learning how to stimulate their child’s speech and language production. The goal is for the child to attend his local school and learn in the general (regular) classroom, like other children his or her same age.


The Auditory-Oral option emphasizes maximum use of residual hearing through technology (hearing aids, FM systems, cochlear implants) and auditory training to develop the speech and communication skills necessary for full involvement in the hearing society. The focus of this option is to use the auditory channel to acquire speech and oral language and is based on the assumption that most children with hearing loss can be taught to listen and speak with early intervention and consistent training to develop their hearing potential.

The Auditory-Oral option includes the use of speech reading and natural gestures. Manual forms of communication, such as Manually Coded English and American Sign Language, are not encouraged. Natural gestures and body language are accepted. Thus, the Auditory-Oral option consists of four main communication features: speech, audition, speech reading, and gestures or body language.

The Auditory-Oral option relies on the user to have amplified residual hearing of a sufficient enough degree to allow the development of an auditory feedback loop (perceiving one’s own voice which aids in monitoring speech production). The greater the amount of residual hearing an individual has the better the chance for success with the Auditory-Oral option. A very important key to the potential success of Auditory-Oral option is optimal amplification of residual hearing or use of a cochlear implant. Thus, a strong working relationship with an audiologist is vital.

Speech reading is an important communication feature in the Auditory-Oral option. In the best environment (good lighting, etc.) only approximately 40% of the English sounds are visible. Much of the meaning of conversation is deduced through context and guessing based on world knowledge and conceptual and syntactic language proficiency. The ability to speech read has been shown to be unrelated to intelligence or motivation. Due to shifting dynamics of conversation between speakers or in a group discussion classroom situation, it can be very difficult to keep up with the conversation, even for a very talented speech reader.


The primary objective of the Auditory-Verbal option is to “equip the child to integrate into classrooms and society at large.” This communication option uses the child’s residual hearing, hearing technology, and teaching strategies to encourage children to develop listening skills to enable them to understand spoken language through amplified hearing or cochlear implants in order to communicate through speech. The emphasis is on development of speech and language through auditory pathways, or hearing. Speech reading, signing, and natural gestures and body language are discouraged. Thus, the Auditory-Verbal option consists mainly of two communication features: audition and speech, with the use of residual hearing with technology and amplification being a vital component.

In the Auditory-Verbal option, the child is expected to rely on audition alone during specific teaching times. One to one teaching with a therapist trained in the Auditory-Verbal options with parents present, and then daily one to one instruction time with the parents, is vital. Use of the hand cues during formal teaching times have been used in the Auditory-Verbal option. These hand cues may consist of one or more of the following techniques: the therapist, parent, or caregiver covering his/her mouth when the child is looking directly at the adult’s face; the adult moving his or her hand toward the child’s mouth in a non-threatening and nurturing way as a prompt for vocal imitation or as a signal for turn taking; and the adult “talking through” a stuffed animal or other toy placed in front of the speaker’s mouth.

Currently, emphasis is on more subtle signals such as encouraging the child to look at something other than the speaker’s mouth when speaking and naturally covering the mouth when speaking. It is not expected that the parents or caregivers would cover their mouths during all daily living activities outside of the direct instruction time

American Sign Language

American Sign Language is a manual communication language taught as a child's primary language, with English taught as a second language. American Sign Language uses hand symbols and gestures combined with facial expressions to communicate language. American Sign Language is recognized as a true language in its own right and does not follow the grammatical structure of English. This method is used extensively within the Deaf community, a group that views itself as having a separate culture and identity from mainstream hearing society.

Advantages of Learning Sign Language

Some of the benefits of learning the sign language and its usage are as follows:


Cued Speech

Cued Speech is a visual communication system that is used to demonstrate phonetic information for children who may not be able to learn entirely though amplified hearing.

Designed to enhance lipreading ability, cued speech combines the natural mouth movements of speech with eight hand shapes (cues) that represent different sounds of speech. For example, the hand shapes help the child distinguish sounds that look the same on the lips, such as "p" and "b". In addition to the eight hand shapes, there are four positions around the mouth, each of which represents several vowel sounds. Some children who use Cued Speech also enroll in programs that emphasize listening and spoken language development.

Pros and Cons of Cued Speech

Although cued speech and sign language may seem identical to a layman, the two communication systems are vastly different at a very basic level.

While cued speech represents the individual sounds of words via a system of visual phonetics, sign language primarily uses hand and body movement to signal concrete words and concepts.

One advantage cued speech has over sign language systems like American Sign Language is that it is more quickly learned. Since it represents sounds, learning the basics of cueing requires far less time than learning the thousands of symbol-like signals that can constitute a sign language system.

Other arguments supporting cued speech have suggested that it can be used to improve literacy among the deaf and hard of hearing. Given that hearing children learn their ABC’s and basic phonetics before they learn to read, it makes sense that learning a visual system of phonetics and then applying it to written symbols would help hard of hearing children learn to read.

The main disadvantage of cued speech is its current lack of popularity. Sign language is still the predominant form of communication among the hard of hearing, so those who master cued speech may find they have limited outlets for cueing. There have also been questions as to whether cued speech is as fast as using sign language.


Total Communication

Total Communication (TC) is a philosophy that includes various types of sign (i.e., ASL, Signing Exact English/S.E.E., and contact languages such as Pidgin Sign English or PSE), finger spelling, speech reading, speaking, and the use of amplification. Simultaneous communication (also referred to as SimCom or SC, and, more recently, manually-coded English; MCE) is TC in which speaking and signing occur at the same time. SC can include contact language (e.g., Pidgin Sign English; PSE and Conceptually-Accurate Signed English; CASE), grammatical forms of English (i.e., Morphemic Sign or MSS; Signing Exact English, S.E.E.) and ungrammatical ASL and English (e.g., Signed English, Sign Supported Speech, Sign Supported English).

Advantages of Total Communication

Enhanced Communication Skills: One of the most significant advantages of total communication is that it can enhance communication skills. When individuals learn to use different modes of communication, they become better communicators overall. For example, individuals who learn sign language may develop better spatial awareness and the ability to communicate non-verbally. Those who learn written language may develop better literacy skills and the ability to communicate more precisely. Increased Cultural Awareness: Another advantage of total communication is that it can increase cultural awareness. When individuals learn different modes of communication, they also learn about different cultures and ways of life. For example, learning sign language can introduce individuals to the Deaf community and their unique cultural norms and values. Additionally, learning different languages can open doors to different cultures and ways of understanding the world.


Disadvantages of Total Communication

Difficulty in Learning Multiple Modes:

A significant drawback of total communication is that it can be challenging to learn multiple modes of communication. Learning sign language, spoken language, and written language all at once can be overwhelming for some individuals. Additionally, it can be difficult to master all modes of communication equally, which can lead to frustration and a feeling of insecurity in communication.

Risk of Information Overload: One potential disadvantage of total communication is the risk of information overload. When individuals are exposed to multiple modes of communication simultaneously, it can be challenging to process all the information. Additionally, individuals may struggle to filter out irrelevant information or focus on the most critical aspects of communication.


In conclusion, total communication is a comprehensive approach to communication that has both advantages and disadvantages. While it can enhance communication skills and increase cultural awareness, it can also be challenging to learn multiple modes of communication and lead to information overload. Ultimately, whether total communication is right for you depends on your individual needs and preferences.


4.4 Communication options: justification and challenges


Communication options for early identified children having access to good amplification:

Children who have been screened early and fitted with hearing aids before the age of six months reach a higher expressive and receptive language level, their speech is more intelligible, they have higher auditory capacities, fewer social-emotional problems, their parents have better attachment, they become better readers and more and more of these children are going to a mainstreamed educational setting. The Simcomm (Simultaneous communication) approach has evolved to be a better approach for early identified children fitted with good quality hearing aids or cochlear implants.


Transition from sign to spoken communication is dependent upon the age of hearing aid fitting. Children fitted before eighteen months of age are able to make the transition well. However, if hearing aid fitting occurs after thirty months of age, the probability of transition from sign to speech is significant reduced. Several factors have been identified which affect the communication option opted by the family and the child fitted with hearing aids. These factors include:

·      Continuing debate concerning the appropriate language(s) of instruction in deaf education (e.g. speech alone, cued speech, speech+sign).

·      Still-evolving approaches for developing speech and auditory capacities in hearing aid users.

·      Individuals' receiving their hearing aids relatively late (3-12 yrs of age)

·      Pre-fitting language and cognitive abilities

·      Concomitant neurological or psychological conditions

·      Post-fitting educational methodologies

·      Greater complexity and abstractness of reading materials for older students

·      Degraded signals provided by hearing aids which restrict full access to spoken language.

Communication options for late identified children having access to good amplification:

The single most important factor in determining successful development of spoken language after successful identification of hearing loss is the age of hearing aid fitting and commencement of speech, language therapy and remedial education. The younger a child is intervened, the more likely they are to be able to understand spoken language and to use intelligible spoken language for everyday communication. Universally for late intervened children, Sign is used In conjunction with speech (total or simultaneous communication) or a sign language such as British Sign Language (BSL), Indian Sign Language (ISL) or American Sign Language (ASL) is used as the child's first or primary language, with spoken or written English being introduced as a second language. The following pattern proposed by Archbold et al. (2000) has been advocated. This includes:

·      Oral communication approach: the child was communicating at home and school and being educated by means of spoken language.

·      Sign communication approach: the child was communicating and being educated using sign for all or part of the day and to whatever degree; this included use of spoken English with sign support (total or simultaneous communication) and the use of sign language (Archbold et al. 2000).


·      The sensitivity of the central nervous system and neural plasticity is an important concern. While the effects that deafness may have on neuronal connectivity within the auditory pathway have yet to be defined, neural plasticity of the brain in infants has been discussed when considering early intervention. It seems that those intervened over the age of 3 may need more time to adjust to the new signal being received through hearing aids, and are less likely to change from a signed approach to an oral approach, and some who do change are likely to take longer in comparison with those intervened at an earlier age.

·      Adaptability to change is another issue. Those children who do not change from sign to oral ism or take longer time to change are because their communication pattern would have been more firmly established. Globally, despite growing consensus for early identification of hearing loss congenitally deaf children generally spend at least 3 years with only very limited access to sound and even if any still learn to use vision as their primary or sole route to communication. In order to change from the use of a visual system, which utilizes a sense that for the majority is unimpaired, the auditory signal will need to become the more salient route for communication and this process takes years not months to be developed.

Deafness is a disability that is misinterpreted in several ways. In fact, there are certain remedies that could have been done despite the communication challenges so that they may be able to start a conversation. However, due to the difficulty of learning the sign language, many people end up ignoring those with hearing disabilities. Just like any person without disabilities, deaf people also need to communicate. Therefore, efforts must be made so that they can convey their thoughts and emotions just like anyone else.



4.5 Tuning the environment (Home & School) for facilitating language & Communication


The child's communication approach would be considered as one factor in the decision regarding school placement. For children who were intervened between the ages of 3 and 5 and those who used sign when they started school, their placement will differ significantly. Once a child starts school, there is a pressure on educationalists to ensure that the child accesses the curriculum. The emphasis is on teaching and ensuring that the child has grasped significant concepts and accessed information. If the child's language development is delayed compared to their hearing peers, then the pressure to ensure that the child can access the curriculum will be increased. Staff may have less time available to spend in promoting the child's listening skills, either in a global way by encouraging the child to listen and presenting auditory cues first, followed by visual cues as necessary, or by engaging the child in discrete listening activities. It is also possible that the expectations of staff, maybe born out of experience of signing deaf children with hearing aids, are that children who start to use sign do not change, whereas in reality children intervened early and fitted with good quality hearing aids have better spoken language, and over time this may change the child's communication use.

Successful communication requires the efforts of all people involved in a conversation. Even when the person with hearing loss utilizes hearing aids and active listening strategies, it is crucial that others involved in the communication process consistently use good communication strategies, including the following:

General Tips for People with Hearing Loss

1.     Politely inform others how best to talk to you

2.     Pick a spot that is quiet with good lighting

3.     Anticipate difficult situations and try to minimize background noise

4.     If possible, learn possible topics that will be discussed beforehand (lecture topics, friends’ interests)

5.     Pay attention to the speaker and concentrate

6.     Look for visual cues and gestures

7.     Let the speaker know how he/she is doing (e.g. ask them to slow down, ask them to not cover their mouth or chew during the conversation)

8.     Admit when you do not understand – ask for the speaker to rephrase or repeat

9.     Ask questions to verify that you have understood correctly

10.Remember that it is okay to have a sense of humor and do not be afraid to guess


Communication at home

Modern houses are not all adapted to the specific needs of hearing-impaired people. Three important factors can influence your understanding at home: lighting, furniture arrangement and surrounding noise.


·       Choose lamps that light the entire face: - Install ceiling lights instead of conventional lamps at eye level. - Favour tall and floor lamps (torchieres).

·       Favour natural light.

·       Sit with your back to the window so the light falls on your conversation partner’s face.

·       Have multiple hearing-impaired people sit in chairs facing one another so the light comes from the side. Furniture arrangement:

·       Make sure armchairs and chairs are positioned no further than 6 feet apart.

·       Place armchairs or chairs so everyone can see each other’s faces.

·       Avoid taking conversations from one room to another (or one floor to another). Ask your partner to come into the same room as you

Surrounding noise:

·       Close doors of rooms where there is noise.

·       Turn off or turn down televisions, radios and stereo systems.

·       Ask children to play in the basement or in their rooms.

·       Use loud appliances at night (washing machine, dishwasher, etc.).

·       If traffic or outdoor noise is a problem, close the windows or doors, or move to a quieter room in the house.

In addition to the tips mentioned above, a hearing-impaired person can use these strategies:

·       If you have hearing aids, use them.

·       When someone talks to you, stop what you are doing and look at them.

·       Pay attention when someone talks to you.

·       Ask your partner: - To look at you when they speak (so you can observe lip movements and facial expressions). - To talk more slowly, a little more loudly, and without yelling. - To say things in another way. - To write down important information on a piece of paper.

For conversation partners

·       Get your hearing-impaired partner’s attention before talking to them (e.g., say their name, touch their shoulder).

·       Move closer to the hearing-impaired person (avoid talking to them from another room or floor).

·       Talk clearly and naturally, in a normal voice.

·       Talk to your partner face to face to help them lip read and see your facial expressions.

·       Eliminate background noise before talking to the person. For example, turn off or turn down the television or radio.

·       Pay attention to lighting, so hearing-impaired people can easily see your face.

• Say things differently if hearing-impaired people do not understand well (by changing words or sentences, adding a gesture).

• Advise hearing-impaired people when there is an abrupt change in topic or when the conversation is suddenly interrupted. • Write down important information.