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Information about SLP & TESL practicum

Linguistics 4SL3 – SLP Practicum – 3 units – 1 term

This course involves working on a weekly basis under the supervision of a registered Speech Therapist and includes observation in a professional speech pathology environment or involvement in a relevant research project, and completion of a paper related to the experience. This Experiential Learning Course must be approved by the Department prior to the commencement of the course.

Prerequisite(s): Registration in Level IV of the Honours Cognitive Science of Language program with a Grade Point Average of 9.0; and permission of the Department.

Linguistics 4TE3 – TESL Practicum – 3 units – 1 term

This course involves working with an accredited ESL instructor on a weekly basis and includes observation of teaching and practice teaching by the student in a TESL classroom, and completion of a paper based on the experience. This Experiential Learning Course must be approved by the Department prior to the commencement of the course.

Prerequisite(s): LINGUIST 4E03; registration in Level IV of a program in Linguistics with a Grade Point Average of 9.0; and permission of the Department.

What is a practicum course?

A practicum course involves a semester-long placement with a supervisor in a professional setting. In Ling 4SL3, students are placed in a professional Speech Language Pathology practice. In Ling 4TE3, placements are with ESL teachers.  Usually your placement is a half-day per week for twelve weeks. Your supervisor will work with you to define your responsibilities in the placement, but usually you will observe the supervisor’s work for the first few weeks, then complete assigned tasks to help your supervisor in the later weeks.

How long is a practicum course?

The minimum time spent on site at your practicum is 36 hours, that is, three hours per week for twelve weeks. If your supervisor allows, you may spend more than 36 hours on site. There will probably be one or two meetings with the other practicum students on campus (one at the beginning of the semester and one at the end.)

Where are the practicum sites?

All practicum placements are in Hamilton. Some are in clinics or hospitals. Placements with the school board often involve visiting a different school each week. Some placements are accessible by transit and others are hard to get to without a car. You will have the opportunity to rank your preferred sites but it’s not always possible to assign students to their top-ranked choice.

How is a practicum course graded?

The supervisor assigns 75% of the course grade using a standard evaluation form. You and your supervisor will talk about the evaluation form and your goals at the beginning of your placement. The remaining 25% of the course grade is earned for a Learning Portfolio that includes weekly reflections, responses to classmates’ reflections, and a final self-assessment of your progress towards your goals. The Learning Portfolio is submitted at the end of the semester.

When are the practicum courses offered?

Ling 4SL3 (SLP Practicum) is offered in the Fall semester. Ling 4TE3 (TESL Practicum) is offered in the Winter semester.

How many practicum spots are available?

This depends on the number of supervisors who are able to host a practicum student, so the number of spots varies from year to year. In each course, there are usually between five and ten placements available in a semester. This usually means that there are more students applying for spots than there are spots available.

Who can register in a practicum course?

Ling 4SL3 is open only to students in 4th-year Cognitive Science of Language (Single or Combined Honours). Ling 4TE3 is open only to students in 4th-year Linguistics or Cognitive Science of Language (Single or Combined Honours). The courses are not open to students from other programs, nor to students who are completing a minor.

How do I request a spot in a practicum course?

Prepare an application package that includes the following:

  • A cover page with your name, student number and mcmaster email address, and which practicum course you’re applying for
  • A letter addressed to Dr. Anderson describing your interest in the course and your relevant experience or background.
  • A CV or résumé of your academic, employment and volunteer experience.

Submit your application on paper to the Department of Linguistics & Languages. For practicum courses in 2017-18, the deadline to submit your application is Thursday, April 20, 2017.

How will I find out whether I have a spot in a practicum course?

Final decisions about practicum spots depend on the supervisors. We try to have spots confirmed by early June. You will receive a message on your @mcmaster.ca email confirming whether you have a spot or not. Once your spot is confirmed, we will set the permission in Mosaic for you to be able to register in the course.

How do I know where I’m placed?

Once you have a confirmed spot in the course, you will receive a list of the placement sites with descriptions of the location and responsibilities for each. You will have the chance to rank your preferred placements. We try our best to place students at their top-ranked sites, but it is not always possible to give everyone their first choice. All communication about placement sites, rankings, and supervisors will happen on your @mcmaster.ca email, so remember to check it regularly even if you are not on campus over the summer.