Curriculum engagement: educators’ experiences in Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology at a South African university.
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Educator’s experiences have not been awarded due recognition within the curriculum. If educators are key agents in curriculum change then non-recognition of their experiences, power relations, identity construction and its influence on the curriculum leaves a gap in understanding curriculum engagement. Hence, this study aimed to explore educators’ experiences on curriculum engagement in the Audiology and Speech-Language Pathology (SLP) Disciplines at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN). Educators’ experiences in relation to students, educators, content, method of engagement and context together with the influence of socio-demographic, socio-emotional and socio-political factors are described. A qualitative study design that was exploratory and descriptive in nature was undertaken. Educators’ experiences were explored via a semi-structured interview method and analysed with the use of a qualitative computer software, NVivo as well as through thematic analysis. Five main themes emanated from 59 codes and 15 categories. The results and discussion are presented per theme and the findings suggest that the political environment impacted greatly on the curriculum in terms of its structure, policies, staff and student profiles. Staff identities and emotional engagement further influenced their interaction with the curriculum and facilitated their role as agents of curriculum change. Whilst validating knowledge by experience may be considered a less orthodox approach, this study has demonstrated that providing Audiologists and SLP’s with a platform to share their personal experiences through narrative may be a way forward in expanding new knowledge, developing skills and gaining competencies as the professions move progressively towards engaging a contextually relevant curriculum.