223: Role-Playing: A Dynamic Approach to Vocational Training

Show Notes

Hi, fellow SLPs! In today’s episode, Hallie explores the benefits of role-playing in speech therapy to enhance vocational communication skills. Discover the practical strategies for SLPs to create realistic role-playing scenarios that prepare students for the workforce by developing language skills essential for professional success. Tailored for speech-language pathologists working with older students, Hallie offers insights into making therapy sessions relevant and engaging focusing on job interviews, client interactions, and team collaborations.

Here’s what we learned

  • By focusing on real world scenarios, students can apply their speech and language skills directly to their career aspirations and goals.
  • It is important to design role-playing activities that are tailored to the student’s individual speech goals and vocational interests.
  • How feedback helps students reflect on their performance, recognize areas for improvement, and make adjustments to their communication strategies.
  • A resource called Secondary Secrets for SLPs, a private podcast series designed to inspire and provide strategies for working with secondary speech students.


📝Life Skills Job Readiness Activities

📝 Website: https://speechtimefun.com/

🎲✨ Check out the Secondary Secret Podcast here! https://www.speechtimefunpd.com/secret-podcast-signup


Q: What did the tiger say to her cub on his birthday?

A: It's roar birthday.

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00:00:00 Hallie: Hey there, SLP. You are listening to this podcast, so I know that you love to listen to podcasts. And if that is the case, then I know that you are gonna love my secret private podcast, Secondary Secrets for SLPs. Its six short episodes will have you walking away, feeling refreshed and inspired and ready to take on those challenging secondary speech students. So if you work with grades four through 12 and are in a planning rut or wanting some fresh new ideas to keep your students motivated, make sure you head to speechtimefun.com/secondarysecrets. You're not going to find this podcast in your iTunes podcast search browser. You can only get access by going to that link. So head to it now. 

00:00:52 Hallie: It is six short episodes that you can listen to it in under an hour, like totally Netflix binge-worthy. I made this just for you and I know you are going to love it. SLPs have been telling me already that it has changed their way for working with their older speech students. So head on over again to speechtimefun.com/secondarysecrets or use the link in the show notes and I can't wait to hear what you think. Now let's head on to this week's episode of SLP Coffee Talk.

00:01:29 Hallie: Welcome to SLP Coffee Talk, the podcast designed exclusively for speech-language pathologists who work with older students, grades 4 through 12. I am your host, Hallie Sherman, your SLP behind Speech Time Fun, the Speech Retreat Conference, and the SLP Elevate Membership. And I'm thrilled to bring you conversations, strategies, and insights that will give you the jolt of inspiration that you need. Whether you're tuning in during your morning commute, on a break in between sessions, or even during a well-deserved relaxation time. I am here for you each and every week. Let's do this, SLPs.

00:02:09 Hallie: Hey, hey, and welcome to another episode of SLP Coffee Talk. Today we're gonna be talking all about role playing as an approach to building language skills and communication skills associated with vocational training. So often when we are working at a high school setting or even middle school and a little bit younger, we're often in core, a lot of our life skills students are working towards vocational goals in their academic setting. And one way we can make what we do in speech therapy relevant to what they're doing in the classroom or eventually outside in the real world is to be incorporating these themes and concepts into our speech therapy. 

00:02:51 Hallie: It shouldn't be such isolated activities, just, okay, we're gonna be working on categorization and thinking that's going to carry over and be effective and beneficial to them outside of our speech room after a certain age. We really need to be making sure our lessons are appropriate and relevant to their world. So, role, working on vocational training goals is such a great way to do that, so that, again, carry over, relevancy, and we want our students to be engaged and motivated, and this is a way to do it. 

00:03:26 Hallie: So role-playing is a great way to seamlessly integrate into our speech therapy. It offers a dynamic and interactive method to practice and work on essential skills for our students. And through carefully crafted scenarios, which we're gonna discuss today, our students can experience workplace situations firsthand, from job interviews, client interactions, team meetings, conflict resolution, all things they might experience in the real world. And working on role-playing provides a safe environment to experiment with different communication strategies. And creating a safe environment is one of the fastest, one of my phases of part of SLP Elevate. It's phase two of the Creative Confidence. 

00:04:10 Hallie: In order for us to feel confident that our students are getting effective and beneficial speech therapy, we need to create a safe environment for them where they feel that what we are doing is relevant to them. That's how they're motivated by it. And by providing these role-playing scenarios, whether it is vocational training or even just social situations your students might be struggling with, it's one way to build that safe environment to work on their communication strategies, receive feedback and adjust behaviors before facing real-world challenges. And it also provides a dynamic and practical approach to vocational training. Scenarios that are designed to mimic real-life situations and offer our students a safe place to practice and refine their speech and language skills and professional interactions by role-playing. 

00:04:58 Hallie: Okay, so today we're gonna be talking, various role-playing strategies and activities that can be tailored to work on different speech and language goals. And I'm gonna share how we can highlight the different scenarios and what goals you can work on and how it's gonna relate to them in the workplace. So how do we design an effective role-playing scenario? Step one would be to tailor it to their individual goals. Let's first start out with, okay, what are their goals? What are their speech goals? And what are their personal goals? 

00:05:25 Hallie: Again, that's also part of my Creative Confidence framework is understanding what do your students wanna get out of coming to speech, going to school, what kind of jobs do they wanna have? Things like that, knowing those things, knowing their goals and their interests and their vocational interests and desires will really help you design a, effective and relevant role playing activity for them. 

00:05:47 Hallie: The role-playing scenario should be relevant to their desired job field or position and ensuring that the practice is meaningful and directly applicable to their future career. And again, also tailoring it to their goals that they have on their IEP, their speech and language goals. We wanna make sure that our goals are appropriate and relevant to them as well. So first, tailor to their goals, personal and speech and language goals. 

00:06:11 Hallie: Step two, we wanna make it realistic and varied. We want our scenarios to cover a wide variety of job-related interactions, from formal interviews to client meetings to casual conversations with workers. And the variety will ensure that our students are prepared for a variety of situations that they, and in context they might encounter. You don't wanna just pick one scenario and practice that over and over again, because what if something else comes their way? We need to make sure that they feel prepared. So this kind of, role playing scenarios can be done over several sessions, and that's what makes it like planning-wise, so super easy. 

00:06:51 Hallie: And three, we wanna incorporate feedback mechanisms. We wanna make sure that we're giving structured feedback. It is crucial for our students. After each role-playing, we want to discuss what went well and what could be improved. This feedback should focus on the areas of their speech and language goals, whether it's articulation, use of vocabulary, sentence structure, whatever it might be. 

00:07:12 Hallie: We wanna make sure that we're incorporating their goals into the feedback and have that dialogue with them, helping them self-reflect, self-monitor, and self-correct and learn from any mistakes that they might have made. It's all about learning, not just practicing and brushing over, and let's do it again the next time. It's how can we learn from the different situation? 

00:07:34 Hallie: Okay, so what goals are they working on speech and language-wise? What are their goals vocationally-wise? Make sure we're doing a variety of situations, not just one, having a whole plethora of things to choose from, and then also making sure we have time in our activity or in our lesson plan for that feedback loop at the end and having that discussion with them about whatever mainly our focus is their speech and language goals, but also helping them recognize and learn from the real playing scenario. 

00:08:04 Hallie: All right, so what are some examples that we can use with our students? Number one, the job interview. Before our students get a job, they need an interview. So perhaps this might be the most crucial step in securing employment. Job interviews, they are common and they're a common focus of vocational training. That's something that they are often practicing for and learning about in the classroom. So we can incorporate that into our speech therapy. 

00:08:28 Hallie: And again, all of these that I'm sharing are also great if you do push-in therapy because if your teachers are doing these vocational activities with their students, we can help design these activities to work coincidentally with them. Anyway, role play, for a job interview. Role-playing an interview can help our students practice answering questions, articulating their qualifications clearly, and answering thoughtful questions using their sentence structures, proper verb tenses, whatever their goals are. 

00:08:56 Hallie: It's also an opportunity to work on nonverbal cues and working on body language, those things our students need in order to be able to be effective in a job interview setting. So all those different skills that whatever their goals are, you can incorporate it while practicing and role-playing a job interview. 

00:09:14 Hallie: All right, number two, a client interaction. Whether they're gonna be going for a job in sales, customer service or any field that might require client interaction, practicing these conversations can build confidence and competence. We can practice scenarios that include addressing client concerns if there's a problem that comes their way, explaining a product or service, maybe sell it, handling difficult conversations or complaints. How do we handle those different things? You can even practice like what not to do and why is that incorrect? How could that come across? All these different things we can practice with our students. 

00:09:53 Hallie: Number three, team meeting participation. Many jobs require effective teamwork and collaboration. We can role-play team meetings and allow our students to practice contributing ideas, listening to each other, engaging in constructive discussions. And it's often a chance to work on turn-taking, respectfully disagreeing, or offering alternative viewpoints. We can work on perspective-taking with this one. Okay, so there's so many different goals that you can work on while role-playing, working as a team. You can do some like, project-based learning type of thing where they have to work together and practice it. 

00:10:28 Hallie: Number four, problem-solving discussions. Workplace challenges often require employees to discuss problems and brainstorm solutions collaboratively. We can practice these scenarios and simulate workplace challenges. This, requiring our students to figure out how to solve the problems clearly, propose solutions, negotiate outcomes, utilizing various vocabulary, sentence structure, question and answering, and so on. They have to have proper listening skills and also understanding different perspectives and understanding how to work with coworkers versus managers at code-switching. 

00:11:03 Hallie: All right, number five, social interactions in the workplace. Beyond formal job duties, the ability to engage in small talk and build relationships with coworkers is essential for workplace integration. So we can practice role-playing scenarios that include what to do on breaks, lunchtime conversations, company events, and we can focus on casual conversation skills, understanding workplace culture, and just navigating those social norms. 

00:11:31 Hallie: All right, so by integrating diverse role-playing scenarios into our speech therapy for vocational training, us as SLPs, we can provide our students with the comprehensive preparation they need to navigate the professional world successfully. It will not only improve their speech and language skills, but it will also build their confidence and competence in professional interactions and paving the way for successful employment outcomes. 

00:12:01 Hallie: Okay, so by integrating real-world role-playing scenarios into our speech therapy, it will allow us to make sure our speech therapy is relevant to them, engaging, realistic, and will also align with what they are doing in the classroom, and it allows for carryover and really will allow for a lot of fun in real-world scenarios. Again, allows us to work towards their personal goals outside of our speech room. 

00:12:28 Hallie: Our role is not to be doing something in isolation and to be doing something so separately than what they're doing in the classrooms or what they are working towards outside in the real world. And by incorporating vocational training activities into our speech therapy room, it really is a great way to be relevant, engaging, fun, and create that safe environment for our students. 

00:12:51 Hallie: I'm gonna include in the show notes, I have in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store a job readiness pack, which has applications, conversation starters, role-playing scenarios, it's all in there. And if you are an SLP Elevate member, you have access to that. It's in your high school hub, so feel free to go grab that, but it is also in my Teachers Pay Teacher Store. So you either can just go to shopspeechtimefun.com and search for job readiness or utilize the link in the show notes. Or again, if you are an SLP Elevate member, go head on to the high school hub, and under life skills, you will see the job readiness pack. 

00:13:26 Hallie: All right, so I hope you found this episode helpful. I'm always trying to provide you, real-life practical ideas that you can use the very next day or today and just some inspiration, that jolt of inspiration that you need to be the best SLP you can be. And I'm all about trying to help you, corporate interests, high-interest themes for your students, making your therapy relevant to them so that they are engaged, motivated, and crushing their speech goals. 

00:13:50 Hallie: All right, I always have a joke for you. What did the tiger say to her cub on his birthday? It's roar birthday. Ha ha ha. Ba dum ching. All right everyone, until next week, have a great day, great week, make a difference for your students, and stay out of trouble.

00:14:14 Hallie: Thanks so much for tuning in to another episode of SLP Coffee Talk. It means the world to me that you're tuning in each and every week and getting the jolt of inspiration you need. You can find all of the links and information mentioned in this episode at my website, speechtimefun.com. Don't forget to follow the show so you don't miss any future episodes. And while you're there, it would mean the world to me if you would take a few seconds and leave me an honest review. See you next week with another episode full of fun and inspiration from one SLP to another. Have fun, guys!