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Communicating Matters Training Course


Guest Wolfie
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Guest DeborahF

Has anyone come across this course yet? The training materials have been developed by the DFES in an effort to develop practitioner's skills at developing young children's speech and language skills and it's currently being rolled out to all authorities, to be delivered by two trainers working together, one with a speech therapy backgorund and one with an early years background.

 

I ask because we've just finished delivering the first of three modules to some practitioners in our area and it went REALLY well - we had a ball and all learnt so much from the materials and from each other. There's quite a big time commitment involved, the training is teo full days for each module and there are two tasks to complete inbetween the two days that we reckon take the best part of a day to complete but it's well worth it if staff cover and time to complete the tasks can be managed.

 

If you get the chance to go to the course in your area I would say go, it's a really good course. I'd love to know what others think. :)

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I'm going to the first day of "Communication Matters" on Monday so I'm really glad to hear it sounds like a worthwhile course. You can't always tell from a flier can you? Could you give me some more details about what to expect? I know there is a video or tape element involved inbetween the two training days and it would be good to have a "sneak preview"! Would the same people from a setting be expected to do Modules 2 and 3?

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Guest DeborahF

Hi - you're right about the flier, one of the main things that came back from our evaluation sheets was that the people on the course had no idea about the nature of the "homework" between the two days.

 

Without spoiling the surprise too much, you will be asked to do a set of observations of one child in your setting and also to get an observation of your own interaction with a child at an activity. It really helps if you've got access to either a camcorder or a tape recorder for these observations, because then you're able to look back at the observations and get more info from them, but some people on our course couldn't get hold of the equipment and still managed to complete the tasks OK. You will need TIME to get these observations done so you need to make your manager/colleagues aware of this and get them on board. What sort of gap have you got between the two days? We made it just a week so that everything remained fresh in people's minds and there wasn't the temptation to put off doing the task!

 

I think it probably is best that the same person attends all three modules because they carry on from each other nicely. Hoepfully you'll finish this module really wanting to do the other two....let me know what you think!!

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I'm halfway through the second module, and you're right, the 'homework' is quite a committment. The feedback most of our group have given is that there isn't enough time between the 2 days to get it done - ours are a fortnight apart. Most people had put a lot of time in at home, transcribing observations etc. It's challenging stuff!

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Hi Deborah, I'm in Staffordshire and have obviously missed this training info - is on the wall planner or was it a separate flier? Sounds really interesting and I will certainly investigate when I get into work this morning.

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Did first part of module 1 on the 1st of November and we go back with our homework on the 28th so we have 4 weeks to get it done. Really enjoyed the course -6 hours per session and apparantly it may be possible to get it accredited by CACHE. Lots of work between in the form of homework but my next module is not until January. Will report back later!!!You had to watch a video again and again but it was amazing how much you could pick up after training in between showings.

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Guest DeborahF

Hi Raine....I live in Staffordshire but work in Walsall, so maybe Staffs haven't rolled it out yet - keep an eye out for it!

 

All students on our course said the same - it's amazing how much info you can get about a child's speech and language from a short observation when you're tuned into what to look for and the benefits of being able to video and then watch several times again are enormous. I think it has to be a bit of a luxury to be able to do that kind of monitoring on a regular basis though...it would be OK if we all had only one child to observe!!

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Had the first day of Module 1 on Monday and really enjoyed it. It was a very intense day with lots to talk and think about. It's always good to go on a course that you feel could have a real impact in practice. We have our next session a week on Thursday so lots to fit in by then alongside daily visits to our local wood and parent meetings!

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Guest DeborahF

It IS a lot of homework in between the two days but you'll find it well worth the effort when you go back for day two and start sharing observations and experiences. The feedback that we got from running our course was that practitioners felt it was a course that they could really take back new ideas to their setting from.

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Guest DeborahF

That's great to hear - I have to say I think it's the best course I've come across in a long while, it's really made me think about the way I interact with the children.

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we're rolling out our Communicating matters training from January - I'll be doing the third module as I have a strong interest in EAL, and will probably do it with our EMA consultant from our team. Our trainers will be the consultants/EYATS. We'll be offering it as an accredited course through cache and this has had to be organised and sorted by one of our team. We've already fed bits of the training into other courses but are offering the whole lot now. I think many LAs will be delivering this and it is a very comprehensive training in understanding childrens language development and pathways to communication so watch your own LAs training bulletins!!

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Our trainers decided to leave out the storytelling element and remodel it as a separate training opportunity. I was disappointed because it's one of my real interest areas.

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That would be my plan. Can't see it being offered before next April, though, becaus ethat's when the new training directory comes out. :o

 

We've had some input from our Area SENCO on Talking Tables, though, and we've started using them so I suppose that all ties in.

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  • 3 months later...
Guest Wolfie

I've just finished doing the "trainers' training" for Module 2 of this training package and have to say that I'm a bit disappointed with the content compared to Module 1 - I feel that the content is very "dry" and course participants who are working with babies and very young children might not get much out of it because it looks at some quite complex language skills that children don't develop until right at the end of Foundation Stage and into KS1.

 

I'd be interested to hear the views of anyone else who is either delivering this module or has been on the training. What do you think of the content? What do you think of the piece of action research that course participants have to carry out between the two days? I can't see how practitioners working with children any younger than 4/5 will be able to carry it out.

Edited by Wolfie
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I wanted to go on this training, but couldn't because of planned staff holidays. The girl who did go has been off sick since she went ( :o ) so I can't see her having completed the task - does this mean we'll have to wait and send someone else, or her again, next time round?

 

Sue

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Guest Wolfie

Hi Sue - how long is it before your member of staff goes on the second day? The piece of action research is in two parts and is looking at the way children use language in the development of complex thinking skills. The practitioner needs to set up a discussion of some kind with a small group of children, something where they need to use reasoning and logical steps in their thinking, and record their responses; she then needs to analyse thses responses and his/her own part in the discussion and look at how she could alter her role to encourage more use of language by the children. She then needs to set up a second discussion time with the same children, trying out any new practices/ideas fro his/her role in the discussion to see if it has an effect on the children's language.

 

Firstly, I think that there is a huge time commitment involved in completing this task, and that is something that the management at the setting need to be aware of in order to arrange cover for the actual activities and also the analysing and writing up. I can also see that a lot of the course participants may struggle to actually complete this activity if the children they work with are any younger than 4 maybe. I work in an LEA nursery of 120 3 and 4 year olds and know that I would find it difficult to have that sort of discussion with many of them. Module 1 was great and I felt that every participant could take something away from the course regardless of which age group they worked with....I'm not so convinced about this module and desperately don't want people who come on the course to be disappointed.

 

I'm really interested to find out what your member of staff thought of the first day?

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I completed Module 2 in January, and have to say I egree with you, Wolfie. As manager I found doing 5 short obs in 1 session almost impossible because I was forever being caled away to the phone etc. In the end I cheated a bit. Most of our children were still under 4 at the time and although the second activity was clearly valuable it was extremely hard to do in our setting.

 

I understand that in our area it's likely that they're rolling out lots of opportunities to do Module 1 next year [i.e. April onwards] but the position around Module2 was less clear. Perhaps our trainers also felt as you do! Having said that, I would probably send all my staff group on Module 1 if I could.

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Guest Wolfie

I loved delivering Module 1 -and am doing so again next week - but have to say I don't feel that enthusiasm for Module 2 at all. Let's hope Module 3 is more like 1 than 2!

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Oh dear I think I got a bit mixed up - the assignments i was talking about were for Module 3 on reflection! I found the stuff on bilingualism useful, working in a county where this has only recently become very relevant, in terms of the children coming into the group.

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Guest Wolfie

So have you done Module 2 already? I'm wondering whether we could somehow alter the action research assignment to make it more relevant to more practitioners?

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Guest Wolfie

It's open to practitioners working with any age Beth so you wouldn't have a problem with that. Your EYDCP should be able to tell you whether the training is available in your area yet - I should give them a call.

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Hi - we have different teams delivering the different modules and interestingly the people who did module three weren't very happy with it after they'd delivered it and said it needed jazzing up a bit!!

As I said I'm doing module 3 in the summer so have yet to plan our attack!

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Guest Wolfie

What did the teams delivering Module 2 think? I'm very interested to hear of any ways that you had to jazz that one uop, especially for practitioners working with younger children! :o

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well they said it was very dry and repetitive, and the timings were not particularly helpful. I think also they had a V quiet group so the discussions were a bit difficult to get going. They've not done anything additional yet due to time but I'lllet you know if they do.

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