New Year, New You: Recharge Your LSL Practice

By Hearing First Team January 5, 2016

LSL Intervention Practice | LSL journey, listening and spoken language, professional advice, powering potential, share LSL

The new year is a great time to recommit to professional learning. We’ve compiled a list of 10 ways you can reassess your professional development and make plans to move forward!

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About half of Americans make New Year’s Resolutions each January — though only 1 in 10 are dedicated to keeping them. When you look at the list of the most common resolutions, most are exactly what you would expect — lose weight, spend less, stress less. You might be surprised to learn that only 2% of annual resolutions are to improve work habits, according to The Journal of Clinical Psychology. Only 2%! 

The first weeks of January provide a great opportunity to reassess our professional practice and make plans to develop and improve. 

It’s easy to get busy in your daily work life and lose some of your focus on the principles of AVT/AVEd — so we’ve developed a list of ways you can reconnect with professional learning in 2016. This list is meant to guide you through a process of self-reflection in order to select which actions might serve you best to focus on this year.

#1: REFLECT

REFLECT on your current practice with a focus on the strengths you bring.

If we just evaluate each session by, “What went wrong? What went right?,” we can easily get overwhelmed by all the places we want to grow. A strengths-based approach starts with what you’re doing well and builds from there.

You may ask yourself…

  • What is working well in my current practice?
  • What are my strengths and how can I build on these in 2016?
  • What changes would I like to make in my practice?
  • What resources do I need to make desired changes in my practice and where might I obtain them?

“We do not learn from experience…we learn from reflecting on experience.”

John Dewey

If you’re interested in learning more about this approach, check out Evocative Coaching: Transforming Schools One Conversation at a Time, by Bob & Megan Tschannen-Moran.

#2: RETHINK

RETHINK your mindset about the families you serve.

The parent-professional partnership is so important — and every partnership has room to grow.

Ask yourself…

  • What is one change I can make that will enhance my role in the partnership?
  • What is working in the partnerships I have with parents? 
  • What questions do I need to ask to gain new insights into how I can better support parents?

These steps can help you guide that relationship and empower parents — so that they begin to see you as the collaborator they need.

#3: REKINDLE

REKINDLE connections with colleagues.

It’s common to get busy in our own space and forget to reach out to others in our field and stay connected. Yet our connections with peers can help us learn and grow.

Ask yourself…

  • Who do I know that I can learn from?
  • What LSL professionals provide positive encouragement?

Now plan a time to reach out to the folks that came to mind!

#4: REREAD

REREAD blog posts you’ve bookmarked or a favorite LSL resource you’ve laid aside.

If you’re like us, somewhere you’ve kept a running list of new research you’ve seen on social media platforms, or studies that have found their way to your inbox and languished there for lack of time to read and reflect on them. In the past year, new books and blogs have been published that may provide insights to strengthen your practice.

  • What resources are on my list to review or read in 2016?

#5: REINVEST

REINVEST time in your day to “sharpen the saw.”

Learning does not have to take place over a designated day or during weeklong events we’ve set aside. Learning can occur within our workday, in small “snackable” informal moments. Grazing in this fashion can help you gain insights that will directly apply to your practice that very day.  

Ask yourself…

  • Where in my day (or week) can I carve out a few minutes to review my goals or professional learning plan?

#6: RECYCLE

RECYCLE LSL strategies that have worked in the past!

Every once in a while we quit doing things that work. Who knows why? Maybe we wanted to freshen the routine or try something new — and found we never went back to strategies that served us well. Now is a great time to choose a few sure-fire methods you have seen succeed.

Ask yourself…

  • What are some tactics I used to do a lot that I’ve gotten away from?
  • Are there any I should consider adding back into my routine?
  • When and how might I implement these approaches?

#7: REDEFINE

REDEFINE what it means to “power potential” in every child you serve through LSL.

There is an entire section on HearingFirst.org dedicated to defining Listening and Spoken Language. We took time to state What is possible, What it takes, and What matters because we know that helping families understand Listening and Spoken Language is essential if we want to see their child reach their full potential. 

  • What messages in my repertoire can I share with families as I guide and coach them through their individual LSL Journey? 
  • What resources on the Hearing First website can help me articulate that vision?

#8: RECHARGE

RECHARGE your batteries by taking time away from your work.

In our field (as in other “caring professions”), it’s easy to get worn down and burnt out. We serve many children throughout the week, only to find that there are progress notes, evaluation summaries, phone calls, staff meetings, and many other tasks awaiting us when we’re through.

Or perhaps you’re using extra hours to coach and mentor other professionals. Many of us leave work knowing it cannot all be accomplished in a day. However, the industry tells us that we need balance — to have the ability to leave work at work and use our home life for respite and continuous relationship building with family and friends.

Ask yourself…

  • What recharges me? How do I rest best?
  • When is my “down time” scheduled in the week — and how can I protect it?
  • Are there boundaries I need to set, or structures I need to put in place to “fence off” family time?

#9: RECALL

RECALL why you chose this vocation to begin with.

With the long hours we so often put in and the inevitable setbacks on the long road we walk with families, it can be helpful to remember the things that first energized us about our work.

It’s powerful to hear our CEO, Teresa Caraway, talk about being in sixth grade, and meeting a particular child who solidified her desire to go into Speech Language Pathology. Every time she tells the story it puts the wind back in her sails and inspires everyone listening! Most of us have a story like that — a child or an experience or a moment when we knew we felt “the call” to work with children who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Sometimes recasting the vision can keep you in the game when you feel like it’s an uphill battle.

  • What’s my story?
  • Who can I share it with?
  • How can I inspire others?

#10: REALIGN

REALIGN your daily habits.

It may take new habits to see new outcomes. What’s that famous quote about doing the same things and expecting different results? Chances are, many things on this list are things you’ve been meaning to do. Professional Learning practices really can raise the bar for the children and families you serve. You just have to be intentional in your pursuit.Read back through this list. 

  • What are a few professional development resolutions that are timely or important to me? 
  • When will I do them or how can I create more space for the habits I’d like to adopt?

The new year is a time of great intentionality. We can choose to be mindful about our professional practice in the upcoming year — and help even more children who are deaf and hard of hearing reach their full potential.


What are your professional development resolutions? What are you committing to or recommitting to this year?

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LSL Intervention Practice | LSL journey, listening and spoken language, professional advice, powering potential, share LSL

About the Author

Hearing First Team At Hearing First, we want all children to benefit from the availability of newborn hearing screening, the advances in technology, and the early learning services in their communities. We want all children to have the opportunity to take advantage of access to sound – a critical building block for future success.