Think about a time when you were truly excited and engaged in learning. Were you inspired? Curious? Surprised? Intrigued? Perhaps it was simply the PALPABLE (so intense you can feel it) JOY from the teacher. S2C PRACTITIONERS and CRPs (Communication and Regulation Partners) feel this joy when we teach and spell with you because we believe in you and love your passion for learning and how hard you work to control your body.
Spell: Learning Curious Intrigued
What does practitioners and CRPs feel when they teach and spell with you? Joy
What word means so intense you can feel it? Palatable
OR What does palpable mean? Intense, tangible, you can feel it, etc.
What does CRP stand for? Communication and Regulation Partner
Name one method that teaches nonspeaking people the skills to spell or type. S2C, FC, RPM
How do you feel when you experience quality learning?
When we train S2C Practitioners, we discuss PEDAGOGY – the practice of teaching. Fun fact – the word for the practice of learning and acquiring KNOWLEDGE is EPISTEMOLOGY. You deserve the best education, communication support, and education possible. New practitioners CONTEMPLATE (think about, ponder) what kind of educator they hope to become and how they will engage nonspeakers, like you, in MEANINGFUL and INTERACTIVE learning while you gain the MOTOR skills to accurately point to spell on the letterboards. One great resource for thinking about joyful teaching is RITA PIERSON’s TED Talk; Every Kid Needs a Champion.
Spell: Educator Nonspeaker Joyful
What word did we use that means the practice of teaching? Pedagogy
OR What is pedagogy? The practice of teaching
What does contemplate mean? Think about, ponder, consider, etc
What is the study of learning/acquiring knowledge? Epistemology
OR What is epistemology? the study of learning/acquiring knowledge
What skills do you need to accurately point to spell? Motor
Who’s TED Talk did we mention? Rita Pierson
What is the name of her TED Talk? Every Kid Needs a Champion
What word would you use to describe the kind of learning you would like to have?
Watch Rita’s TED Talk (about 7 mins, so you may want to save this until the end of the lesson) https://youtu.be/SFnMTHhKdkw
Born in 1951, Rita Pierson was an educator who was passionate about teaching. She began teaching in 1972 and taught in elementary, high school, and special education. Her many positions included being a teacher, GUIDANCE COUNSELOR, testing COORDINATOR, trainer, and ASSISTANT PRINCIPAL. Some might say education was in Rita’s DNA – her parents and grandparents were also educators. She was dedicated to teaching UNDERSERVED students. Rita believed that “every child deserves a champion: an adult who will never give up on them, who understands the power of connection, and INSISTS they become the best they can possibly be.” Believing that RELATIONSHIPS are the heart of good teaching, Rita strove to get to truly get to know her students and let them know that they MATTER (have importance, significance)! The education community lost a great advocate when Rita died in 2013.
Spell: Insist Champion Connection
When did Rita begin teaching? 1972
Where did Rita teach? Elementary, high school, special education
What was one role Rita had in education? Teacher, guidance counselor, testing coordinator, trainer, assistant principal
What kind of student was Rita dedicated to? Underserved
What does underserved mean?
Give an example of an underserved student.
What did Rita believe was at the heart of good teaching? Relationships Rita wanted her students to know that they _____. Matter
What does teaching is in Rita’s DNA?
In what year did Rita die? 2013
How old was she when she died? 2013 – 1951= 62
What would it mean to be a “champion” for you?
Let’s discuss some of the many takeaways from Rita’s TED Talk as applied to nonspeaking spellers and types.
Spellers don’t learn from people they don’t like. Despite the PERSISTENT (long-lasting) tired, old story that nonspeaking people don’t understand emotion and relationships (sigh), we have found nonspeakers demonstrate the POLAR OPPOSITE (completely different). Spellers are not only highly sensitive to the emotional state of others; they can spot a PHONY (fake, fraud) a mile away. Someone who works with nonspeaking kids or adults as a teacher, educator, therapist, CRP (Communication Regulation Partner), caregiver, or practitioner needs to GENUINELY and AUTHENTICALLY like them, or they will see right through your FACADE (outward appearance). This is not a relationship you can fake your way through.
Spell: Relationship Sensitive Emotional
What word means long-lasting? Persistent
What is a long-held false belief about nonspeakers? Don’t understand emotions or want relationships
What expression means completely different from what is expected? Polar opposite
Give an example of how you are the polar opposite of what someone might expect.
We said that nonspeakers are good at spotting someone who is _____? Phony
What’s another word for phony? Fake, fraud, disingenuous, liar, etc
What is an important requirement for someone who works with nonspeaking kids and adults? Genuinely/authentically/truly like them.
What did I say facade means? Outward appearance
How would you characterize your ability to understand emotions and relationships?
Seek first to understand. People who pay ATTENTION will quickly see that nonspeaking people have plenty to communicate – with and without a letterboard. They should – Be quiet. Observe. Wait. Listen. Nonspeakers are the best teachers around. If talking, people will listen and take their DIRECTION from you. If a nonspeaking person does not have a means of communication – watch her eyes, watch the body, what is she doing, what is she bringing or leading you to? If the nonspeaking person has some means of AAC (AUGMENTATIVE and ALTERNATIVE Communication – like a letterboard, keyboard, device, app, or picture cards), give the time and space for him to spell or use AAC. The CRP’s job is not to interpret the message – it is to receive the message. Talkers are good at talking – they need to learn to listen.
Spell: Understand, Observe Device
Do nonspeaking people have plenty to ______? Communicate
What should people do to understand nonspeaking people? Pay attention, be quiet, observe, listen, wait
What does AAC stand for? Augmentative and Alternative Communication
What does augmentative mean?
Name one means of AAC that we mentioned. Letterboard, keyboard, device, app, picture cards
We said talkers are good at _______? Talking
What do talkers need to learn to do? Listen
Besides listening to the words and your spell, what is a way someone can understand you?
Apologize. Own your mistakes, ACKNOWLEDGE them, and APOLOGIZE. When educators, therapists, practitioners, parents, and friends apologize, it goes a long way toward building a trusting relationship. An added benefit of apologizing is that it encourages spellers and typers to be ok with their own mistakes. Many of the nonspeakers I have worked with over the years have error-induced TRAUMA and become anxious or DYSREGULATED when they make a mistake. That makes sense if you have had years of therapy and experience with only getting the good stuff when you are correct. CRPs need to give themselves and nonspeakers permission to be wrong with CONFIDENCE!!
Spell: Acknowledge Trusting Mistakes
You should own your mistakes, acknowledge them, and _____? Apologize
Apologizing helps build a trusting _______? Relationship
What do you think we mean by error-induced trauma?
What can happen as a result of an error? Anxious, dysregulated
What is the added benefit of apologizing? May encourage spellers to be ok with mistakes
This lesson encourages you to be wrong with ______? Confidence How do you feel about making mistakes?
Regulate before you educate. Rita describes how her mother, a teacher, kept washcloths, combs, and snacks on her desk for students. Before a seller is ready to start the lesson and exert cognitive and motor energy, CRPs, practitioners, and teachers have to consider what needs need to be met first. We often refer to this as REGULATION (physical and emotional balance) needs. What are the PHYSIOLOGICAL and EMOTIONAL needs of the speller? Is the speller hot/cold, sick, hungry, or tired? (The CRP’s physiological state matters too!) How can you help co-regulate? Will engage the body through purposeful motor help? We need to consider emotional regulation too. Anxious, giddy, angry, sad, stressed, and exhilarated are all emotions that can affect motor and learning.
Spell: Lesson Hungry Purposeful
Do we need to regulate before we ______? Educate
What term did I use to mean physical and emotional balance? Regulation
What was one thing Rita’s mother kept on her desk? Washcloths, combs, and snacks
Spellers have to exert what two types of energy when they spell? Cognitive, motor
Name a physiological need that can affect regulation. Hot/cold, sick, hungry, tired.
Name an emotion that can affect regulation. (Any emotion)
Why does the CRP’s regulation matter?
What needs have to be met before spelling? Regulation, Physiological, Emotional
Celebrate with Sincerity. Spellers work hard in their sessions! CRPs need to find ways to celebrate the effort, energy, and sheer determination it takes for nonspeakers to get their brains and bodies to work in SYNCHRONY (a simultaneous action) to accomplish new tasks and achieve their goals. Pierson talks about giving a student who missed 18 out of 20 a +2 and a smiley face “because -18 sucks all the life out of you.” I think of Fezzik in The Princess Bride when he tells Wesley, “You wiggled your fingers. That’s wonderful! You’ve been mostly dead all day!” (WHAT??! You haven’t seen Princess Bride?? INCONCEIVABLE! Omigosh – your homework tonight is to watch the Princess Bride!). Although it is important to celebrate the small victories, these should be actual valiant efforts and achievements. Let’s move away from clapping, high-fiving, and good jobbing AD NAUSEUM (so excessive it is sickening) for everyday activities that have long been mastered. Spellers frequently tell us that they don’t need to be high-fived to complete usual routines. Praise should never be PATRONIZING (with a superior attitude; condescending).
Spell: Celebrate Achievement Routines
Should people celebrate or praise with ________? Sincerity
How do the body and brain need to work when spelling? In synchrony
What did Rita give the student who missed 18? +2
What movie does this lesson reference? Princess Bride
What do we want celebrations to move away from? clapping, high-fiving, and good jobbing
What word means excessive to the point of being sickening? Ad nauseum
OR What does ad nauseum mean? excessive; sickening
What language do you think ad nauseum comes from? Latin Praise should never be ________? Patronizing
What is an example of praise that feels patronizing?
Watch The Princess Bride!!!
Strut your stuff. Pierson talked about giving her students a MANTRA (an expression you repeat), “I am somebody, I was somebody when I came here, I’ll be a better somebody when I leave.”
This is the essence of presuming competence – students can and want to learn. Teachers, therapists, parents, and CRPS need to take presuming competence a step further – “I accept you as you are.” “I will help you accomplish what you want to accomplish.” Be proud of every little step – we are all a work in progress. EV (Elizabeth Vosseller, S2C Practitioner and author of this lesson) says that over time, she has come to see herself not so much as a clinician or practitioner but as a SHERPA (Tibetan mountaineer who carries equipment, informally an assistant). I am along for the journey, helping carry the heavy stuff when needed and encouraging when the journey gets tough. EV’s mantra is, We Do Hard Things!
Spell: Equipment Journey Essence
What is an expression you say to yourself repeatedly? Mantra
What do we call the notion that students can and want to learn? Presuming competence
How can educators, parents, and CRPs take presuming competence to the next level? Being accepted, helping accomplish goals, being proud, etc.
What is a Tibetan mountaineer who carries equipment or informally an assistant? Sherpa
Think of another analogy for the role you would like to see a therapist or practitioner take when working with you. What is EV’s mantra? We do hard things. What is your mantra?
Every nonspeaking person deserves a champion. In S2C, our policy is that we never turn any nonspeakers away. Communication is a fundamental human need and right. Nonspeakers have nothing to prove to “earn” our belief and commitment. We celebrate effort. We encourage taking risks. Mistakes mean you are embracing challenges. Your goals are our goals. No matter how challenging, no matter how many stumbles, no matter how long it takes, we believe in you and are not giving up on you! Together, we do hard things.
Spell: commitment challenges fundamental
S2C’s policy is to never turn any ______? nonspeaker away
S2C believes that communication is a fundamental _____? Human need/right What are you doing when you make mistakes? embracing challenges
Tell me about an educator, therapist, practitioner, CRP, family member, or friend who had an impact on your learning.
How do you strut your stuff?
Write your own guidelines for working with nonspeaking kids or adults.