Professional courses in the field of speech therapy were awarded this year’s Pedagogical Award
This year, Sahlgrenska Academy’s Pedagogical Award was given to the two teacher colleagues, Tove Lagerberg and Marja Öller Darelid, for having successfully developed and implemented new professional courses in the speech and language pathology program, eight sub-courses held each semester throughout the course.
The profession of speech therapist has changed a lot in recent years. Speech therapists are now not only found in the healthcare sector, but also in other roles, for example in local authorities and schools. For that reason, between 2016 and 2018, the teaching staff for the speech and language pathology program restructured the entire curriculum for the first time in 16 years. Two of our colleagues, Tove Lagerberg and Marja Öller Darelid, then initiated new professional courses consisting of sub-courses that are repeated throughout all eight semesters of the program.
“We realized that there was a need for a clearer progression and a course that makes it clear to the students what they could use the theoretical courses for when they enter professional life as qualified speech therapists. For students, this means that they have the opportunity to become more secure in all the roles they may take on when they have qualified as speech therapists,” says Tove Lagerberg, senior lecturer at the Department of Health and Rehabilitation at the Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology. She has also been the program coordinator for the speech and language pathology program since 2013.
“We have really enjoyed developing the course together. We’ve been brainstorming and have not held back in trying out completely new approaches. We have discussed and asked hard questions, really tried to view the various modules of the course from different angels,” says Marja Öller Darelid, a university lecturer who has been involved in running the speech and language pathology program at the University of Gothenburg for many years.
Progression through the program
The professional course includes such modules as auscultation, educational theory, ethics and law, equality of care, voice, an evidence-based approach and a professional approach. Since the new curriculum went into effect from the 2018 autumn semester, almost all of the modules within the professional course have now been held at least once, except for the very last courses in semester seven and eight, which will be held for the first time this year.
“Reaction from the students has mostly been very positive. Like everyone else, we had to change quickly to adapt to the restrictions during the pandemic, but often online work on the courses has been fruitful. Using breakout rooms in Zoom, for example, has suited the design very well,” says Tove Lagerberg.
The course evaluations and the results of the final seminars that the speech and language pathology program has introduced at the end of each academic year show that the professional courses have been successful. In the final seminars, students work towards the objectives of the Higher Education Ordinance’s degree description for the speech therapist degree, i.e., what they will have to know to be able to qualify for a degree and apply for certification.
“For each objective, they are asked to state how far they have come and how they think they have achieve this objective. At the end of semester two, they may need help in understanding the objectives, and from that point we see clear progress. There will be a long-term benefit where students will get a clearer picture of what the different areas of the speech therapist course add to each other, what the students need to know to work as speech therapists,” says Marja Öller Darelid. Tove Lagerberg agrees:
“The fact that they gain insight into their own learning process also makes it clear to students that learning will continue throughout their entire professional life.
JUSTIFICATION FOR THE AWARD:
Sahlgrenska Academy’s Pedagogical Award for 2021 has been awarded to Tove Lagerberg and Marja Öller Darelid, who have been very successful in the development and implementation of a professional course within the speech and language pathology program. Applying innovative thinking and a clear pedagogical idea, they have created a course that clarifies, for both for students and teachers, progression and continuity in terms of basic knowledge. The development work of Tove Lagerberg and Marja Öller Darelid also forms an excellent model for other programs at the Academy, ensuring that students achieve a solid foundation for their future careers.