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Decoloniality and healthcare higher education: critical conversations

Decoloniality and healthcare higher education: critical conversations

Pillay, Mershen, Kathard, Harsha, Hansjee, Dharinee, Smith, Christina, Spencer, Sarah, Suphi, Aydan, Tempest, Ali and Thiel, Lindsey (2023) Decoloniality and healthcare higher education: critical conversations. International Journal of Language & Communication Disorders. pp. 1-10. ISSN 1368-2822 (Print), 1460-6984 (Online) (doi:

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We explore the theoretical and methodological aspects of decolonising speech and language therapy (SLT) higher education in the United Kingdom. We begin by providing the background of the Rhodes Must Fall decolonisation movement and the engagement of South African SLTs in the decoloniality agenda. We then discuss the evolution of decoloniality in SLT, highlighting its focus on reimagining the relationships between participants, students, patients and the broader world.
The primary objective of this discussion is to fill a gap in professional literature regarding decoloniality in SLT education. While there is limited research in professional journals, social media platforms have witnessed discussions on decolonisation in SLT. This discussion aims to critically examine issues such as institutional racism, lack of belonging, inequitable services and limited diversity that currently affect the SLT profession, not just in the United Kingdom but globally.
The methods employed in this research involve the engagement of SLT academics in Critical conversations on decolonisation. These conversations draw on reflexivity and reflexive interpretation, allowing for a deeper understanding of the relationship between truth, reality, and the participants in SLT practice and education. The nature of these critical conversations is characterised by their chaotic, unscripted and fluid nature, which encourages the open discussion of sensitive topics related to race, gender, class and sexuality.
Discussion points
We present our reflections as academics who participated in the critical conversations. We explore the discomfort experienced by an academic when engaging with decolonisation, acknowledging white privilege, and the need to address fear and an imposter syndrome. The second reflection focuses on the experiences of white academics in grappling with their complicity in a system that perpetuates racism and inequality. It highlights the need for self-reflection, acknowledging white privilege and working collaboratively with colleagues and students toward constructing a decolonised curriculum. Finally, we emphasise that while action is crucial, this should not undermine the potential of dialogue to change attitudes and pave the way for practical implementation. The paper concludes by emphasising the importance of combining dialogue with action and the need for a nuanced understanding of the complexities involved in decolonising SLT education.
Overall, this paper provides a comprehensive overview of the background, objectives, methods and key reflections related to the decolonisation of SLT higher education in the United Kingdom. It highlights the challenges, discomfort and responsibilities faced by academics in addressing decoloniality and emphasizes the importance of ongoing critical conversations and collective action in effecting meaningful change.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: colonisation; critical conversations; decoloniality; speech and language therapy
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
R Medicine > RA Public aspects of medicine
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > Institute for Lifecourse Development > Centre for Chronic Illness and Ageing
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Health Sciences (HEA)
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2023 09:13

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