Using Talking Mats as a ‘Thinking Tool’ for Student Supervision
Here Laura Holmes, our North-West England Associate, describes how she used Talking Mats to support mid and end of placement reviews with a Speech and Language Therapy Student:
I am very familiar with using Talking Mats to help the children I work with to express their views and opinions – to give them a voice in terms of therapy planning and to enable the children to think about and share what works for them.
However I recently also used Talking Mats to support a Speech and Language Therapy student who was on placement with me. I introduced the approach to support our discussion during her mid-placement review, and then again, during the final review at the end of her placement.
I introduced a Talking Mat with the topic ‘Clinical Areas’ and the topline question ‘Confident/OK/ Not Confident’. I made up options relating to each clinical assessment area as described in the University Student Handbook/Guidelines.
Here is the mat from the student’s mid – placement review:
And here is the mat from the end of placement review:
The pictures help to show the shift in the student’s confidence from the mid-point of the placement in comparison to the end of the placement.
The first Talking Mat helped us to focus our discussions in terms of what skills needed further support/development during the placement. The second Talking Mat then supported our evaluation of current learning outcomes at the end of the placement, as well as helping to identify key learning outcomes for the student’s next placement.
The student shared that she found Talking Mats a really useful thinking tool to help her to think carefully about her skills and the progress she had made during the placement. This was easier than during a typical face-to-face discussion due to the focus on the mat. The interaction itself was also more relaxed as a result.
My next step will be to introduce use of symbols for topic and options – here are some examples from a Scotland-wide Talking Mats project which involved asking students about their work placements:
We often have members of University and College staff coming to our Foundation Training Courses – find out more about this and other training options we offer here:
If you have any examples of using Talking Mats for student supervision, and would like to share them, it would be great to hear from you! Just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org