By Sarah Atkinson former Speech and Language Sciences student and current MSc student in the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences
“Professional Issues… Sounds fascinating.” Thus my (admittedly extremely sarcastic) thought upon hearing a module of this name would comprise the greater part of my workload during semester one of my final year becoming a speech and language therapist.
Despite hearing great things about it from my forebears in the year above, the prospect of this module did not fill me with delight. I certainly could not have guessed it would turn out to be one of the most enjoyable modules I have had the happy chance to participate in.
Specific highlights of the module include the fact that its aim was to produce a handy resource regarding current issues in the field of speech and language therapy. This resource was bang up to date, and, we discovered, highly relevant to our future practice; I know it has since been used widely by my colleagues in preparation for interviews, and during clinical practice. Group and individual presentations on a wide variety of both lecturer and student chosen subjects were combined to collate this resource. The brief for these presentations stipulated that audience involvement was vital to receiving a good grade.
Students in our cohort excelled at both presenting and engaging with the rest of the class, making some particularly tricky content both easy to understand and vastly more interesting than it may otherwise have been. The chance to learn from and be involved in others’ presentations meant our collective confidence and a sense of camaraderie could be built; we were all rooting for one another to do well.
Finally, it is paramount that I express my belief that the success of the module is mainly down to the module leader’s enthusiasm and striving to make what could by all accounts be a very dull subject, as accessible and stimulating as possible to tired fourth year speech therapy students. For students of any kind to achieve success, the enthusiasm of anyone in a teaching role cannot be underestimated. Seeing someone who already has in-depth knowledge about a subject matter excited to share it rouses, if not the same enthusiasm, then at least a genuine curiosity, to understand exactly why they are excited about it. This naturally leads to a curiosity about the subject itself, without which learning can become a tedious and tiring process.
If you are interested in finding out about the module that Sarah studied take a look at the case study by Module Leader Dr Helen Stringer.