Original Research

Speech–language therapy educator reflections on the planning and implementation of education and training during the COVID-19 pandemic

Urisha Naidoo, Penelope S. Flack, Vrinda Rathiram, Legini Moodley, Saira B. Karrim, Nomfundo Buthelezi, Vuledzani Ndanganeni
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 69, No 2 | a908 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v%25vi%25i.908 | © 2022 Urisha Naidoo, Penelope S. Flack, Vrinda Rathiram, Legini Moodley, Saira B. Karrim, Nomfundo Buthelezi, Vuledzani Ndanganeni | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 January 2022 | Published: 09 September 2022

About the author(s)

Urisha Naidoo, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Penelope S. Flack, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vrinda Rathiram, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Legini Moodley, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Saira B. Karrim, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Nomfundo Buthelezi, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa
Vuledzani Ndanganeni, Discipline of Speech-Language Pathology, School of Health Sciences, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban, South Africa


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Abstract

Background: Universities across the world experienced lockdown and closure of all learning institutions around March 2020 because of the advent of the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). This lockdown and closure presented challenges to the traditional pedagogical approaches in the health sciences, which typically include both campus-based and clinical site-focused activities involving face-to-face interactions and work integrated learning. The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a shift to emergency remote teaching (ERT) and learning.

Objectives: This study aimed to explore speech–language pathology (SLP) educators’ experiences of the planning and implementation of ERT and learning during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Method: A qualitative, descriptive narrative design was adopted to meet the objectives of the study. Seven SLP educators from a single university in South Africa participated in this study by constructing narratives on their experiences. The narratives were analysed using thematic analysis.

Results: Five themes emerged from the data analysis, and these included (1) uncertainty, (2) educator feelings, (3) capacity development, (4) influence of circumstances on teaching, learning and assessment and (5) troubleshooting. Current findings provide insight into the challenges encountered and strategies utilised by educators in planning and implementing ERT and learning.

Conclusion: Beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, most educators believe that a hybrid model would address some concerns identified, such as that of missing face-to-face contact, but that it would still allow for the full exploitation of online activities for teaching, learning and assessment required during clinical training.


Keywords

COVID-19; emergency remote teaching and learning; narrative research; South Africa; speech–language pathology; speech–language therapy educators

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