02 February 2010

Practicing in front of a mirror isn't such a bad idea

Working as a speech pathologist in schools, I often had to come up with innovative service delivery options so that I could better service the need of schools, rather than just providing assessments and recommendations only.  I certainly did many assessments-only, but I also tried to provide direct individual and group therapy for the higher-needs students wherever I could.

One of the service delivery options I enjoyed providing was the Whole Class Program.  In schools where a great number of lower-priority younger students were referred, I offered to run eight half-hour sessions for the whole group and provide follow-up activities for the teachers.  Each session focussed on one aspect of speech and one aspect of language, and I would lead the activites in front of the group of referred children or the whole class if preferred.

I remember the first time I ran my session focussing on 'l' blends.  I talked a lot about how to produce the 'l' sound, and then I introduced words starting with 'bl', 'cl', 'fl', 'gl' and 'pl' blends.

The school principal (different school, different principal) was inordinately pleased that I could see a large number of her struggling Year 1 students.  She loved the idea of the whole-class program, and came to see how it was working.  She brought her deputy and the learning support teacher as well.  The class teacher was there of course, as were the children.

I was on a roll.  The session was going well, but the children were struggling to get their tongues around the 'l' blends.  I tried an easy technique first.

"Now what's this one?  This is a plum!  Try that ..."  I noticed that they were having trouble with that 'l'.

"It is tricky, isn't it?" I said.  "How about we try saying 'lum' ... see if you can ..."  Yes, that was easier for them.  Little tongues go up to the spot just behind their front teeth and LUMMM!  Yes!

"Okay, now we have to put this 'p' in front of it.  Try 'p-lum' ..."

I could see them thinking very hard about where their lips and tongues were to go - lips closed for the 'p' then tongues up for the 'l'.  And it was working - great.  This technique, easy as it was, seemed to be working for this group of 5 year olds.

"Let's try the next one.  It's a 'cl' one this time.  'Clap'.  First we're going to practice saying, 'lap.'  Now let's put the 'c' in front - 'c-lap'." Great.  We're on a roll!

"This is a flag.  See - I've got 'lag' ... and now we can say, 'flag'."

"This is a glass.  Here I've got 'lass' ... and now we can say 'g-lass'."

"This is a plate.  See, I've got 'late' ... and now we can say 'p-late'."

"This is a knife with its blade.  Now I've got 'lade' ... err ... umm ... I meant ... uh-"

Confused silence.

Wh-what?  Did I just say I've got laid?  In front of a whole class of Year 1 students, their teacher, the Learning Support Teacher, the Deputy Principal and the Principal?

Surely not.

Uh - I wish this lesson was over.


Hippomanic Jen said...

Thanks for totally remedying my frustration with the tax office in one sentence. The whole reporting tax thing may still involve the use of the word "stupid" more than 3 times in each sentence, but I am suddenly in a great mood.

And it's all down to three words.

Swift Jan said...

hehe, did the other teachers chuckle? i would have lol

Tracy P. said...

I'm sure you made their day--and the kids were none the wiser! Now THAT was a worthwhile use of your time.

Joy said...

funny funny.
I'm sure they needed a laugh.
Gave me one.

I guess you knew who was paying attention and who wasn't.

♥ Joy

Jodie said...

Hehe...that's very funny! Did any of those savvy, street-smart year one's pick you up on it? I remember a broadcasting voice class once. My colleagues and I were being coached to say 'rural'. ROO-ruhl. Hilarious. We all fell about in mirth. Voice coach lady was not at all impressed.

Crazy Sister said...

I often run into a similar problem teaching music. Oh dear, it's a terrible one. It pops up when students have an F chord. A fifth above F is C, so of course, F and C need to be played together a lot. This leads to me often saying, "And now the F and C..." which catches me by surprise as I realise I just said, "Effin C..." which is shorthand for terrible swearwords, which thankfully, most little kids don't know.

But I always close my eyes for a second and think, "Gotta avoid saying that next time..."

my3lovelies said...

LOL The things that come out accidently like that!