On Sunday, I went to one of my favorite places in Atlanta, The High Museum. In fact, I love it so much I have an annual membership that I purchased for a steal back in September! The museum’s latest major exhibition is Dream Cars that features unique and imaginative cars that were designed in the 1930s through the present by Ferrari, Buggatti, General Motors, and Porsche. These automakers designed cars that changed the industry by challenging what was possible both technologically and stylistically.
Here are a few photos from my visit.
This made me think about the field of speech-language pathology and education. What are these industries doing to challenge the notion of what is possible for students’ communication and academic successes? What are speech-language pathologists and educators doing to modify how they assess students and implement therapy sessions and instruction? In recent years, I think SLPs and educators have done and continue to do a TREMENDOUS amount of preparation to select evidence based materials, evaluate what children already know, teach, and evaluate again to see what children learned.
Common Core Standards and differentiated instruction are terms that I hear frequently while working as a school based speech-language pathologist. There are many people on both the pros and cons side of the Common Core Standards discussion and I’ll spare you the debate here. However, I like the accountability piece that the common core standards creates for school districts that use these standards to guide instruction.
In the same manner, I believe that differentiated instruction, in which a teacher modifies how they teach, what they teach, and how they assess children is an essential shift in the style from traditional teaching. I also think that it should be best practice for all educators to implement curriculum design based on Grant Wiggins’ notion of creating a solid assessment before instructing students so that you know clearly what and how you expect them to demonstrate mastery of specific learning standards.
As far as technology goes, there has been a significant increase in the amount of technology that SLPs and educators use to select lessons that drive children’s learning while implementing new techniques that assist in delivering results. The use of interactive SMART boards, IPads, Mimio Boards, and computer based therapeutic/educational program are engaging for children and contribute to learning when implemented effectively. Additionally, teachers and SLPs are able to collaborate with other professionals not only at their school, but also nationwide and globally through the use of online blogs, discussion boards, Twitter, Pinterest, and other forms of social media. Children and adolescents in today’s society are very technologically savvy and I have observed that they love creative and innovative lessons rather than the same old therapy and education styles from even 5 to 10 years ago.
What are ways that you implement creativity and innovation in your speech language therapy sessions or classroom? I’d love to hear!
Tamara Anderson, Ed.S., CCC-SLP