Original Research

Influence of social inclusion and institutional culture on students’ interactions in clinical settings

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Margo Kalenga
South African Journal of Communication Disorders | Vol 70, No 1 | a991 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajcd.v70i1.991 | © 2023 Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Margo Kalenga | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 01 May 2023 | Published: 13 October 2023

About the author(s)

Katijah Khoza-Shangase, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa
Margo Kalenga, Department of Audiology, Faculty of Humanities, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa


Background: Decolonisation of the Speech-Language and Hearing (SLH) professions in South Africa to be Afrocentric is a current focus. These professions continue to hold white Eurocentric English and/or Afrikaans knowledges and practices, which are reflective of the minority. As diversity of students in higher education increases, the obvious incongruency between the language of learning and teaching (English) and institutional culture of the programmes and students who use English as an Additional Language (EAL) becomes heightened.

Objectives: The study’s aim was to explore the learning and social experiences of EAL undergraduate students in a South African SLH training programme, with a specific focus on students’ experiences in patient, clinical supervisor and peer interactions in clinical situations.

Method: A total of 24 participants recruited through purposive sampling were included in this cross-sectional mixed-method online survey design study. Data from the survey were analysed through descriptive and thematic analysis approaches.

Results: Findings reveal a less than positive impression of EAL students in the current SLH training programme as far as their clinical experiences were concerned. The institutional culture of the SLH programme was reported to be disadvantageous to EAL students. These findings raise important implications for SLH training programmes, the regulator and the country’s SLH professions as a whole.

Conclusion: This study sheds light on the significant incongruency between the existing institutional culture and the increasing diversity of students, particularly those who use EAL, in South African SLH training programmes.

Contribution: Findings not only illuminate the challenges but also offer a path forward towards a more inclusive and representative SLH profession in South Africa, aligned with the principles of decolonization and Afrocentrism.


Afrocentric; clinical training; clinical supervisors; English as an Additional Language; undergraduate; students; South Africa


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