SP in Schools project 2017 Low Res V2

The positive impact of providing best practice support to students with SLCN

The features of effective practice in primary and secondary schools, for all students, including those with SLCN are numerous. The key ones are discussed below. Ensuring communication is embedded at a universal level For all students, there is increasing evidence to show that a focus on students’ spoken (including the use of additional or alternative expressive modes, such as symbols, books or boards) language in primary and secondary schools can have an impact on achievement. Using speaking and listening activities to help students think for themselves has been highlighted as indicative of an effective school. The introduction of whole school level activities such as a consistent approach to reinforcing good listening in class leads to improved results in English. Support to develop communication- friendly environments in primary and secondary schools is essential. Skilled and confident staff can make a positive impact For all students, including those with SLCN, what adults do can have a huge impact on their communication and educational outcomes. Simple strategies such as allowing more processing time or directing positive feedback towards social as well as academic behaviours have been shown to increase engagement and performance. Initiatives using guided learning through portfolio work and concept maps have been successful in supporting the transfer of learning into practice. Links with the curriculum For all students, building speech, language and communication skills teaching into the curriculum has been shown to have an impact both on the quality of teaching and on social and academic outcomes for students. The curriculum used in Australian schools is the Australian Curriculum (www. theaustraliancurriculum.edu.au). It is highly recommended that speech pathologists have a look at the year level curriculum and analyse the language skills needed to access it. Consider student language strengths and needs, and work with teachers to address the gaps. This represents a significant shift in approach

for speech pathologists away from remediation to supporting access and participation in the curriculum thereby making language intervention more meaningful for students. An approach where specialists work closely together on aspects of the curriculum has reported benefits for both teachers and students. Working through narratives is an example, through scaffolding story or report writing, but also through creating a communication-based curriculum or through focused discipline specific vocabulary teaching. A functional approach All students can continue to need support with aspects of language such as vocabulary and grammar and the academic requirements of language. However, it is also important to focus on associated emotional and social aspects such as friendship or independence. A focus on these functional aspects of communication is useful for the development of all students. A strategy-focused approach Successful learning occurs when students reflect on their strengths and difficulties and know what they are aiming for. The same applies to language – being able to reflect on and analyse language is central to developing language. Students need to know “how”, rather than just “what” to learn; strategies rather than skills. Strategies such as listening to parents as models, practising words and asking for help have been identified as useful by young people. Teaching strategies such as the use of visual organisers, pause time for planning, and ways of recognising feedback to support self-monitoring can result in positive outcomes in both written and spoken language. Support at transition times The transition from preschool to primary school, from one year level to the next, from primary to secondary school and from secondary school to beyond school can be potentially difficult times for all students academically, organisationally and socially. The amount of support given by the secondary school in skills such as note taking, learning how to read a timetable, understanding what a subject area is, how to manage a diary/ student planner, managing assessments/ assignments and ‘how to write an essay’ are crucial to ensuring a successful experience. Not


Speech Pathology Australia: Speech Pathology in Schools Project

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