English instruction experiences of native South African speech-language and/or hearing (SLH) undergraduate students: An exploratory study

Research Article

English instruction experiences of native South African speech-language and/or hearing (SLH) undergraduate students: An exploratory study

Published in: Journal of Psychology in Africa
Volume 34 , issue 1 , 2024 , pages: 59–64
DOI: 10.1080/14330237.2023.2290426
Author(s): Katijah Khoza-Shangase University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa , Margo Kalenga University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa

Abstract

This study explored the experience of English as an instruction medium by South African Speech-Language and Hearing (SLH) students whose first language is not English ( African language speakers). A purposive sample of 24 female students for whom English was an additional language were informants (60 9% in the third year of study and 30 1% in second year; 79 2% audiology and 20 8% speech-language pathology enrolled; 41 7% native IsiZulu speaking, 12 5% Afrikaans, 12 5% Sepedi, 12 5% Setswana, and the rest Sesotho, Southern Sotho, and IsiXhosa speaking). The students completed an online survey on their learning and social experiences in a South African SLH training programme. Descriptive and thematic analysis yielded findings to suggest: (i) fear of mockery, humiliation, and of being perceived as inferior; (ii) being overlooked and less valued contributions; (iii) missing the themes of discussions during lectures; and (iv) issues of accent getting in the way of self-confidence and leading to reduced participation overall. These findings suggest that undergraduate students experience English as an additional language to present significant challenges related to feelings of being undervalued which would hamper their academic and clinical training experiences. Our findings underscore the need for proactive and systematic interventions within SLH programmes to create a more inclusive and supportive learning environment for these students.

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