The effect of an experimental approach on the development of speech-language therapy students’ verbal reflective practice skills in a group setting.
Thesis DisciplineSpeech and Language Sciences
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The aim of the current study was to investigate the development of speech-language therapy students’ verbal reflective practice skills within group settings. Student and clinical educator perceptions of reflective practice were also documented. Participants were students in the third year of the undergraduate Bachelor of Speech and Language Pathology programme (n = 27), and clinical educators (n = 6). A two-condition, non-randomised, pre-test post-test design was employed with six groups (three in a standard practice condition and three in an experimental practice condition). Participants took part in weekly reflective practice groups over a period of six weeks, in which discussion centred on students’ clinical experiences. At two time points, pre- and post-intervention, discussions were transcribed and coded. Additionally, both students and clinical educators completed a questionnaire designed to examine perceptions of reflective practice. Statistical analysis of degree of change across the pre- and post- intervention time points was undertaken, including comparisons between the standard and experimental practice conditions. There was no difference in the development of students’ verbal reflective practice skills either across time or between groups. However, pre- and post-intervention comparisons showed a significant change in student perceptions of reflective practice both across time and between conditions. Clinical educators exhibited statistically significant enhancements in their perceptions of reflective practice groups within the standard practice condition; however this was not the case in the experimental practice group. No significant differences in perceptions of clinical educators were detected between conditions. The lack of development of reflective practice skills detected over time was an unexpected finding, as previous literature has documented that reflective practice skills do develop over time. Limitations of the current study were the small sample size and use of non-validated questionnaires to assess perceptions of reflective practice. Implications for clinical practice are discussed.