The LAMP Language and Communication Screen Used to Support Teachers to Identify Speech, Language, and Communication Difficulties in Four Primary Schools in Varied Social Contexts
Nash, Marion Marie
Date: 2 January 2014
University of Exeter
EdD in Educational Psychology
The research described here was inspired by a national review which concluded that too many children come into our primary schools with unmet speech and language needs (Bercow, 2008). Teachers are in a position to identify language difficulties but many have expressed uncertainty regarding their role in this process. I believed that ...
The research described here was inspired by a national review which concluded that too many children come into our primary schools with unmet speech and language needs (Bercow, 2008). Teachers are in a position to identify language difficulties but many have expressed uncertainty regarding their role in this process. I believed that the LAMP (Linguistic Assessment for Mapped Provision) screen for language and communication which I had developed would help teachers to identify language concerns and would also increase their professional confidence in this complex area. I had developed the LAMP screening instrument and piloted it over a 2 year period prior to this study. It is employed here as a universal screen that is used in a whole school approach in order to enable teachers to identify language need. The use of the LAMP as a universal screen applied to all the children in a school lessened the likelihood of preconceived notions impacting upon teacher’s perceptions of need in the classroom. The LAMP data allowed schools to track the progress of individual children within a class and whole school context. Teachers need to be aware of any pre-conceptions they may have in relation to the performance of children from different socio economic circumstances. The hypothesis that poverty continues to provide the weightiest detrimental effects upon children’s language development was examined and within the parameters of this study was found to be contestable. Study design: A systematic survey was conducted over 4 Primary schools using the LAMP. Rich picture data was accessed from teacher questionnaires and focus groups involving participants from the schools in the study. The repeated measures design provided information on what teachers had learned in the period of reflection between the screenings. The use of a mixed methods repeated measures design helped me to understand what was difficult for teachers and what the teachers felt would help them. The 4 schools in the study were chosen to reflect varied social contexts in order to explore any impacts of SES on the results. Analysis of data: In a repeated measures design, a LAMP screen was completed for every child across the 4 schools by their teachers in February and then June in one school year. Results of screening were analysed and compared on a range of variables using SPSS. Questionnaires were used to collect teacher perceptions before and after using the LAMP screen. Focus groups were held in the schools at the end of the study to add more information on how helpful teachers felt the process had been in raising their awareness, confidence, and skills in the identification of SLCN. Findings: The main trend observed was a decrease in levels of teacher concern related to children’s speech and language needs from the first to second screening survey. Differences were found at a statistically significant level on a range of variables. The expected differences between high and low socio-economic status (SES) schools were not found. Teachers reported increases in their awareness, confidence, and skill in identifying children’s speech language and communication concerns by the end of the study. Some changes to classroom practice were reported. Conclusions: I propose that use of the LAMP screen increased teacher awareness of the nature of language difficulty and that this heightened awareness was a key variable in the observed changes to language concern scores. The LAMP screening process was seen by schools’ staff to have had a positive effect on teacher’s skills and to be relatively easily assimilated into the school system. However some participants identified a number of challenges relating to time constraints and maintaining the use of LAMP as high profile in the context of competing time demands in their schools. It is suggested that EP services would be in a position to support schools to implement and embed the LAMP screening model as part of their Service provision. It is also proposed that economic deprivation or disadvantage did not appear to be the only important factor to consider when making funding decisions intended to support children’s linguistic competency in schools.
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