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Teaching, Coaching, and Mentoring in SLP Education

July 9, 2013

While driving home to Saskatchewan I listened to a podcast featuring Atul Gawande, a surgeon and academic, as he discussed his perspective on coaching in widely different fields.

Find the podcast here:

And for his full lecture on the topic, go here:

Where do our education and our profession sit along the continuum of teaching, coaching, and mentoring?  Understandably our education must start with some teaching; we need to learn the theory behind our work before we can do it.  However, at what point do the teachers start to let us play – within eyesight – without holding our hands.  The experiences described by my peers vary greatly.  Some are wishing for more input with which to correct their mistakes, meanwhile others want to plan their own lessons; some feel that their actions are entirely their own, whereas others feel like they are the medium for someone else’s actions.  Where do you sit?


Our educators are not our only teachers and coaches.  Let’s consider everyone we have!  During this summer we each have a partner.  Every step of the way we have someone at our side who shares our goals and is truly on our side as we face our new challenges – clinical reasoning, behaviour management, time management, activity creation, and more.  We also have our consultation team, a pair of our colleagues who watch our sessions and make suggestions to improve our practice.  We may not recognize every area for improvement during the session, but with our coaches’ help we can identify and work to improve them

We have many arms-length mentors available to us as well.  When my partner and I were unsure of a particular approach to phonological treatment, we asked one instructor who could – without a doubt – make things clear for us.  When we were stuck for more ideas with another client, another instructor hunted down print resources for us.

Who are the peers and professionals who act as coaches and mentors in your practice?

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