?Core Curriculum and the SLP?
I am so confused, I almost don’t know where to begin. I never thought of myself as a therapist who followed or worked from the curriculum. I have always thought of myself as someone who supports development of the underlying skills needed to access the curriculum independently.
Working with 3-8 grades at a time it would be nearly impossible to know the exact curriculum in each grade. Not to mention seeing kids only 1-2 times a week it is hard to keep up, even with curriculum vocabulary. Often our small groups are designed to work on a specific skill and are made up of students of different ages or in different classes. Occasionally I’ve incorporated long term projects such as books or concepts especially if I knew my students were struggling. Going into the classroom 1-2 times a week the curriculum also flies by and unless there is ample consult time with the teacher, the speech language pathologist functions as a glorified aid, often with little opportunity for student contact.
I’ve read a little on Core Curriculum and frankly don’t understand how we are all of a sudden suppose to align our goals and objectives to the curriculum. I’m also shocked at how many speech language pathologists are falling into step with this. None of our formalized testing looks at anything to do with curriculum. We’ve been taught to report the standardized scores not grade levels or age levels (even if available). Our standardized test scores measure underlying learning and language skills not curriculum.
In the past 25 years my speech and language goals and objectives have focused on areas such as auditory awareness, word retrieval, pragmatic skill development, comprehension, articulation, oral motor development, development of higher order language, using complete grammatical sentences, memory, shall I go on. How do you align memory goals with the curriculum? Seriously, we all know that if a skill like memory is not addressed in a systemic developmentally appropriate way, significant splinter skills develop. With word retrieval you want the student to learn and employ various strategies to aid word retrieval, really how does that align with curriculum.
Now one thing speech language pathologists are good at is creative writing. Of course we could craft some lofty goals that makes everyone happy. But really what does that measure, how are we going to report on those goals and honestly how valid will that data be? Again I ask the question, how does our formalized and standardized testing align with the core curriculum? A better question is how will our students receive the direct and specialized therapy to address their specific needs if our goals are curriculum based?
I wish someone would explain it to me. I’m not thrilled with the concept of core curriculum to begin with so aligning my work to core curriculum will be difficult from a moral standpoint. However, if I have to do it in order to work then I will have to do it. I feel like powers that be are forcing our hand. Most school administrators and teachers don’t even know what we do and how important the skills we address are to independently accessing the curriculum. Perhaps that is our fault. Where is ASHA (American Speech Hearing Language Association) in all this? I believe that if we are not careful and don’t remain very specialized there will be no need for us in public schools. Not only will we, as a professional group, lose out but the students will too.
Someone explain to me how this will work? Lets have a discussion.