Are you looking for ways to work on receptive language goals but find it difficult when you have to teach virtually? If you have been following along this school year, you know that I am teaching in a hybrid setup where some of my students are virtual and some of them are in person. With my students who are virtual, I still work on their receptive language goals, but it looks a little different than it did before and I want to share with you some of the tips and tricks I’ve found when it comes to working on receptive language.
With my students I am using Google Meet, so I don’t have mouse control and I can’t give my students mouse control so I need them to be able to do a task on their end without them touching anything. That’s where it gets a little tricky for most.
In this situation, I want you to think about what the most functional thing for our students to learn how to do is? How I figure that out is by asking what are they needing for the classroom or what are they needing for life? Not only are these students learning virtually for me but they are learning virtually for their teachers as well. So, what are some receptive tasks that they might need to do? They might be going to a website, writing something down, looking for an item, underlining this word, going to google classroom…..and the list goes on and on. Their teachers might be giving them directions and they need to know how to follow them but it might not involve touching anything.
So lately, I have been using WebQuests with my students. These are great because it teaches the students how to navigate the internet in a safe way and it gives them different challenges along the way of things for them to look for. These are also great if you have social skills groups because they can learn to follow the directions of the WebQuest to achieve some type of goal. It will give them a variety of tasks to complete during the WebQuest which mimics the types of tasks their teacher would be giving them during virtual class.
Now receptive language is more than just following directions, it also includes the understanding of vocabulary. Normally one of our favorite ways to assess vocabulary is having the student point to the word we say. When doing this type of thing online you could put the options on paper and hold them up to the webcam and maybe you have one option on blue paper and the other option on red paper so the student can tell you what color they want to pick. Yes, they may be answering you expressively, but it is still working on that part of the receptive language as well because they are showing you that they heard and that they can pick the selection.
In person we might be sorting, pointing to, or doing something. When we switch to virtual, we have to think about different ways we can have them do things to let you know they understood. We have to think about what functional skills our students need and what will help them in the classroom. Try to mimic the directions, the tasks, and the language that would be used in their classroom such as having them go to Google Classroom, open up a Google Doc, or listen to a story. We can help our students filter out unnecessary noise and we can help them with those self-advocacy skills like asking for help when they need it. I tell my students “hey, I know that it can be very busy during a virtual class session so if you are embarrassed to ask a question in front of everybody you can send the teacher a message privately to ask them for help.” There are different things that we can teach our students to do so that they are not embarrassed to get things wrong, they are not embarrassed that things are difficult for them, and we can help them see that they really can be successful and that our sessions are not so isolated. We want them to know that our sessions are really relevant to what they are doing. We can be that person that says “hey, I got you and I am here to help you. I’m here to show you that you can be successful and you can show your teacher that you are understanding the lesson.”
All of these things are ways we can work with our students on receptive goals and we can make a difference for them in the virtual learning experience. Your students are so lucky to have you because you care about being the best SLP you can be. Be proud of yourself! If you want to learn more, be sure to check out the video and websites below for quick and easy ideas to use in your speech room this week!