the speech & language trainers

Elklan Blog

Have you heard of Mind maps, multiple meaning trees, attribute webs or a word whizzes?

Wednesday, October 03, 2012

If your school has undergone the Elklan Communication Friendly School training, you will most certainly have and will now be using these on a regular basis.

Elklan, in conjunction with The Communication Trust, Open College Network (OCN) and AFASIC joined together to promote Elklan’s Communication Friendly Schools accreditation which is now available to all schools across the UK. As always Elklan constantly evaluate the effectiveness of what they do and the results so far, have been very encouraging. A summary of the results showed:

  • Pre and post confidence measures of the teachers and the teaching assistants were taken.
  • 58% of teaching assistants rated themselves as being extremely confident in supporting children with SLCN post-training compared to 2% pre training.
  • 91% of SENCO’s/teachers now rate themselves as confident or very confident in training and supporting staff in the school to implement key strategies to support children’s speech, language and communication.
  • 74% of teaching assistants, after using the strategies taught with children and recording their response, rated all of them as either effective or very effective.

Cavendish Close Infant School is one of the schools who have successfully gained their accreditation. Here is a summary of their evaluations:

  • Word Maps were used by every teacher and children were very motivated and came up with very good ideas. Staff felt the strategy made the children think more deeply and it generated good discussion. It also led to lots of opportunity to generate rhyme and think more about syllables in words.
  • Word Whizz provided good opportunities to correct grammar and allowed children to work well together. Many teachers felt it provided opportunity for active learning and helped to reinforce sentence building skills with enriched vocabulary. Children began to apply WOW words in their spoken and written work.
  • Venn Diagrams helped children to associate words in different contexts and emphasised the meaning of the word same and different. The children were engaged in their learning and it helped to develop the processing element of speaking, listening and communication.
  • Multiple Meaning Tree was a brilliant pre-writing activity. It helped to introduce children to new vocabulary and the enriched vocabulary had an impact on the children’s creative writing. One FS teacher was really surprised at how easily FS2 children understood the concept.
  • Attribute Webs generated lots of vocabulary were very simple to do and visually introduced children to new words. They also prompted quality discussion about making attributes specific to target word.
  • Mind Maps generated good discussion afterwards and the children were enthusiastic about the facts they knew. Some children were so motivated that they made their own mind maps at home on their own initiative.


These results and evaluations support the effectiveness of the project in enabling the whole school to become a communication friendly environment. As a result, it is available to all schools in the UK with teaching from Elklan tutors.