Thursday, January 23, 2014

What Comes Around...

Having been in the field for 29 years, it's amusing for me to see ideas for speech/language therapy and education circle back around.  "Whole language" was the big buzz word in the late 80's-early 90's.  One of the good things about it was that it got SLPs (or "speech clinicians" as we were called back then) out of the therapy room and into classrooms.  We weren't "in our own little world" any more...we learned what the classroom teachers were doing, and they learned things about us, too.  I remember working with one of the Kindergarten teachers in her class:  When the students were "reading" the big book, they got stuck on the word "and".  I simply signed the word, and they got it.  The teacher was amazed.  (I was, too, but I didn't let her know!)  If you walk into a classroom today, you can still see remnants of "whole language".  Of course, it's not called that, but it's there.


In the early '80's, I was introduced to "Venn Diagrams":  a new and innovative way to conduct language therapy.  It was/is a visual way to talk about likes/differences while incorporating writing and literacy skills.  I was also introduced to graphic organizers:  structuring conversations so that the students can learn to put their ideas into a paragraph.   But that wasn't all:  Using story books and teaching children to retell stories.  Yes, using a "storybraid".  And yes, I said the 1980's.  

When I first came to my current school system, ITI (Integrated Thematic Instruction) was a big thing.  It was all about making the school look like a home environment as much as possible.  It also incorporated a lot of things special ed teachers do as second nature into the regular ed classroom, such as visual schedules.  It was also about hands-on experiences and making the student feel "safe" at school by creating a non-threatening environment.  There are still traces to be found, but it's not emphasized as much as it was 10 years ago.

While all of those things weren't in the forefront of therapy/education, they continued to be there in the 90's and early '00's.  And now they're back.  When I first started working in the profession, I heard the "old timers" giving the advice to not worry about things; it will cycle back out.  And cycle out it did.  And will again.  This is why I'm always a little hesitant to "buy in" to something new; why I'm not going crazy about common core.  There are some good things to come out of all of the "new" things.  Take what you find that works, keep it and incorporated it in your therapy, and move on.  And just remember, what comes around will cycle back out.

1 comment:

  1. Great post! I'm only 12 years in but I am starting to see this too.

    ReplyDelete

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