Early years practitioner Mandy Masterman, from Boothferry Primary School, explains how Chatta is making an impact on communication, language and vocabulary in foundation stage classes with remarkable results.
Mandy originally connected with the Chatta team because children in her setting faced a number of communication development issues, including children struggling to express their thoughts and ideas in spoken sentences. As many of her children were new to English too, developing and extending the use of vocabulary was a priority.
Progress Has Been Phenomenal
Mandy says “Many of our children don’t speak English at home, so English is their second language in school. I would say in school we have about 13 languages. As time progressed, it transpired that it wasn’t just the children learning English as an Additional Language, who Chatta helped. The progress in the pupils’ communication development has been phenomenal.”
An Excellent Resource For EAL Students
“I’m not very technical, but I was astonished at how easy it was to use. Initially, I thought it would be a massive help for our EAL pupils. Many of our children’s parents are not strong in English, so sharing the stories between setting and home has really helped them. As we got to know Chatta better, the EAL pupils were not the only ones we saw significant improvement with. Chatta has proved invaluable for helping all the children overcome communication barriers.”
We Use Chatta For So Much.
“Once we started using Chatta, the children loved it, really loved it. We had initially seen clear uses for it in storytelling, but also we use it across all activities. It is unbelievable; the quietest children, who wouldn’t usually speak and contribute, want to be involved. All our children just love it. Many of the children get involved in it, they are always really excited actually. It is wonderful to see. The opportunities to use Chatta to develop our children’s communication skills and vocabulary are endless.”
All The Children Are Involved
“The children’s vocabulary has improved as has their ability to describe, explain and tell stories. Chatta encourages the children to speak and to compose their own sentences. Even the quietest children and the EAL children get involved because many of the stories we use have a lot of repetition.
We also see significant advantages for our SEN children – they find the modelling and scaffolding valuable. It makes it easy for them to understand and use short, familiar phrases and to compose their own sentences.”
Overcoming a Stutter
“We had a child who had quite a bad stutter. When he talked, he spoke very fast, and it could be difficult to understand him. Previously the boy wouldn’t speak aloud as he was pretty shy because he was aware of his stutter. By using Chatta, he could record his voice, and listen back, but without any of the other children hearing. This meant that we could work on his speech with him in safety, away from the other children.
Chatta was the perfect tool to help the boy to organise his thoughts and to calm down and speak slowly. The beauty of Chatta’s approach is that you can delete it and try again – that was really helpful for him.”
Developing a Pupil’s Confidence in English
“We also had a little boy who was new to English. He was shy and self-conscious when he was speaking. The Chatta approach gave him a confidence boost because he loved the stories and the repetitiveness of some stories. This helped him to develop skill and confidence as a speaker.
We had a teddy bear in the classroom, and during the day, we’d take pictures to see where he had been – this supported their use of positional language with a visual cue – on top, underneath, inside, next to etc. We then created Chatta boards out of the activities. It really helped him.
We often find that when the children are using a visual cue for new vocabulary, it helps them get an understanding of it. Chatta is brilliant at supporting this.”
It Works Across The Whole Class
“The nursery class had never heard the Gingerbread Man story before. I created a Chatta board using pictures from the book.
The children really enjoyed it, twenty six 3-4 years olds – they all really loved it and were so engaged as they watched the creation of the story happen. The children love to listen to the recordings back. The process gives the children the language and understanding to tell the story themselves, choosing and using their own words.”
The Children Were Buzzing With Pride
“I’m now really familiar with Chatta, and I enjoy using it. It is fantastic for recounting experiences the children have had in the classroom, like baking. When the school had their annual ‘Bake Off’, we had the mayor of Goole judging the best cakes and buns. The mayor went to each class. She saw our Bake Off Chatta board when she visited our class. The children were buzzing with pride to show what they had achieved through Chatta.”
Ofsted Inspectors Loved Chatta
“The ‘Bake Off’ was on the same day we were being inspected by OFSTED! When the inspectors visited our classroom we were acting out a story using a Chatta board to sequence the events. The inspectors liked it, and they were really interested in it.”
Communication and Language Since Lockdown
“I think children’s language has dropped during the COVID lockdowns. We have got a lot of very poor speakers on our carpet, and these are not all EAL children. I think the gap currently risks widening quite significantly.
During lockdown, there have been a lot of children whose language has been quite delayed, and we know Chatta will help. We’re confident the children who’ve got poorer language skills can bridge the gap with Chatta.”
We’re Implementing it Across The School
“The thing about Chatta is that as well as teachers using it with the whole class, children can create a Chatta board by themselves. It helps the children build confidence and creativity.
Using Chatta has excited our children and significantly developed their communication and language skills. Other teachers have seen the positive impact Chatta has made lower down the school and are keen to use Chatta in their own classrooms. We’re really excited about rolling this out through the whole school.”
Thank you Mandy for sharing your inspirational feedback about Chatta!
See Chatta In Action At Your School
If you’d like to explore the impact Chatta could have for your pupils, or to arrange a free demonstration of the Chatta approach at your school please contact our team by email: [email protected], call 0845 003 0896 or book an online meeting.
Try Chatta Yourself For Free
Chatta combines software with training and fits with every subject, every age group, every language and at every level. The teaching approach is based on dual-coding and visual scaffolding, combined with modelled language and oral rehearsal. Everything you need to experience Chatta in your classroom is available when you create your own account with the Chatta software. Follow this link to find out more.