Teach your kids how to code switch
What is code switching?
Code switching is the practice of switching the languages you use or the way you express yourself in conversations depending on your environment.
This is most popularly used in bilingual communities when someone switches between two languages, for example Spanglish- the combination of using Spanish and English words in a sentence. Code switching is also utilized to switch between dialects, registers, styles, tone of voice, slang, etc. It is essentially the ability to switch between professional language and "home" language.
The second most common use of code switching is by people who speak nonstandard or a dialectal English. For example, African American English (AAE) or Southern American English. Both of these English dialects have their own set of consistent grammatical rules that they follow. They have to learn to code-switch to a more standard form of English in a formal or academic setting.
WE ALL CODE SWITCH
Any time we switch the language we use to fit the audience we are talking to, we are code switching!
Smaller examples of code switching:
It is expected in schools and in professional settings that we already know how to use Standard American English and can code switch independently.
BUT we are first exposed to language before we even enter school! Toddlers learn language at home. At home we use a different, more casual language then we do at school or at work. Therefore, many toddlers are never exposed to Standard American English until they enter school. They have also never learned or had the need to code switch. Over time, some kids are able to learn to code switch independently, but this isn't always an easy task.
Academic settings often treat features of nonstandard dialects as if they are "errors". When children are using the language they learned in their homes and come to school to be told they are wrong, it makes no logical sense for them because they are correctly using the features of their home language.
When kids aren't taught early on how to code switch to Standard American English, it can cause a lot of problems in the academic setting. They have difficulty adapting to the grammatical rules, difficulty with reading literacy, anxiety, apprehension about participating in class and social situations, and trouble with other academic standards that are set for them.
WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS?
So teach your kids early on how to code switch! Explain that we use a different language at home and a different language at school. Teach them when to use their "home" speech and when to use their "school" speech while encouraging them to explore both! Code switching isn't a negative concept- it is a celebration of our different cultures and a natural occurrence. It is an effective way for all individuals to communicate across a variety of audiences.
Have fun exploring the fluidity of language!
The benefits of reflective practice
What is reflective practice?
Reflective practice is the act of assessing your own thoughts and actions for the purpose of personal learning and development. For a lot of people, this act is something that is natural and instinctive. For others, it's something you need to actively work towards. It is the idea of learning from experience.
What is the purpose?
Reflective practice helps us explore ideas and apply them to our experiences. It encourages growth and improvement. It can be applied to any profession or personal situation. It is a continuing process where you analyze and evaluate an experience to learn and gain insight to positively improve client outcomes. The whole goal is to lead to changes and improvements in our professions.
As teachers and therapists we need to think about what you did, why you did it, how you did, and if it worked.
By collecting information about what goes on in our classrooms and sessions and analyzing that information, we can lead to change and improvement in our teaching.
You might be talking to a coworker and say, "My students didn't understand that lesson at all" or "I've been working on this concept with this child for a month and he still doesn't seem to get it." THAT is the beginning stages of reflection. However, if we don't spend time focusing and discussing what actually happened we might jump to conclusions. We may only remember those louder students reactions or we may only remember what the child didn't do. Reflective practice involves a systematic approach of collecting, recording, and analyzing our thoughts and observations to make change.
Think about these things:
At the end of every lesson: QUESTION:
Lastly, in the book People Skills, Neil Thompson suggests six steps to reflection:
Remember, reflection is a natural thing for humans to do. It only takes a little more conscious effort on your part to become a reflective practitioner and improve the learning of both yourself and your students. You may decide to do something a different way, or you may discover proof that what you're doing is the best possible way-and THAT is what reflective practice is all about.
What happens at an IEP meeting?
My first year working in secondary education I assumed that by this stage in the student's life both the parents and teachers knew and understood what an IEP was. I encountered however, some teachers who didn't know what IEP stood for, and some parents who thought the IEP was just a yearly "parent-teacher conference." While the IEP meeting is an opportunity for teachers to give updates to parents, a lot more is going on.
What is an IEP?
IEP stands for Individualized Education Plan. This is a document that is developed for each public school student who is eligible for special education. The term "special education" can scare off a lot of parents. This simply means that the general education program isn't meeting the needs of the student so they require an individualized plan with accommodations to help them reach their goals. The IEP is meant to address each student's unique learning difficulties and include specific goals to target them. It is a legally binding document and the school must provide everything it promises in the IEP.
What happens at an IEP meeting?
The law requires that once a year the IEP team reviews the IEP. The IEP team can meet more often that once a year depending on the needs of the student. The point of the meeting is to make sure the student's IEP is working for them. It gives an opportunity for parents to discuss their child's strengths and weaknesses with teachers. If the student didn't meet any or all of his goals, you can discuss new ideas to help the student. This may mean modifying the goal, adjusting expectations, or giving the student more/different kinds of services/supports.
The IEP meeting is when parents, teachers, and the school can give and get input on how the student is doing. The IEP needs to be revised as the student makes progress and faces new challenges in the academic curriculum.
Who attends the IEP meeting?
The IEP Team will attend every IEP meeting. The IEP team includes:
What is discussed at the IEP Meeting?
The IEP being discussed at the meeting is considered a draft IEP. Some schools create the IEP in advance and then share it at the IEP meeting. Other schools develop it together during the meeting. Since it is a draft, suggested changes can be made during the meeting.
Every IEP meeting will cover these things:
What is in an IEP?
Each IEP will look different as they are made to cater to each student's unique needs. Every IEP however, will contain the following things:
I hope this gave you good insight into what happens in an IEP meeting. Remember, the IEP is more than just a "parent-teacher meeting," it is an opportunity to make positive changes in a student's life. For more information on IEPs, click below!
Liz Molina M.S. CCC-SLP