Assistive Technology Network

Descriptive Teaching

Descriptive Teaching involves teaching concepts behind context-specific vocabulary by using high frequency, reusable words (core vocabulary). The teacher explains terms/vocabulary using core words that are readily available in the AAC system. Students learn to use these core words flexibly to describe, define, or predict in content specific activities.

There are several benefits to the descriptive teaching method:

  • It gives the student more practice retrieving core words and combining them into meaningful sentences.
  • It requires the student to think more deeply and creatively about a concept in order to describe it in their own words.
  • It saves time spent programming and learning how to retrieve infrequently used words.

This Descriptive Teaching Model video provides information and examples of this teaching strategy.

Use this poster, Describe an Elephant, as an example of how to teach using the Descriptive Teaching Model.