Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Healy, J., Lyons, R., O Malley, M.P., & Antonijević, S.
Translocation: Migration And Social Change
Preparing health care workers for a bilingual and multicultural context: learning from an undergraduate speech and language therapy programme
Optional Fields
multicultural society bilingualism multilingualism speech and language therapy undergraduate education
recognised as official languages (Official Languages Act, 2003).† In recent years with the increase in immigration, it has become a country of greater cultural and linguistic diversity.† Speech and language therapists assess and provide interventions for people with communication impairments.† Working within Irelandís current multicultural and multilingual context requires knowledge of best practice guidelines among speech and language therapists to ensure that an efficient and equitable service is provided for all service users irrespective of their cultural and linguistic background. However, research has shown that many speech and language therapists do not feel confident working with bilingual clients and that training is often not provided to ensure that they are equipped with knowledge of guidelines for best practice.† There is a need for education programmes to faciliate speech and language therapists to develop the knowledge, skills, and attitudes necessary to work with bilingual clients.† To date, there has been little research exploring whether education programmes on bilingualism and multiculturalism are effective in fostering positive attitudes among speech and language therapists in training to work with clients from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds.† The aim of this study is to establish if there is a difference between the attitudes of two groups of speech and language therapists in training - those who had completed a module on bilingualism and those who had not completed a module on bilingualism towards (a) multiculturalism, (b) bilingualism and (c) working with bilingual and multicultural clients. An attitude scale was designed and administered to therapists in training in all four years of the BSc in Speech and Language Therapy. Data was analysed quantitatively using non-parametric test for between subjects (Mann-Whitney U test) to establish if there was a difference in attitudes between the two groups.† Therapists in training who had completed the module displayed significantly more positive attitudes towards multiculturalism, bilingualism, and working with this client population than therapists in training who had not completed the module.† While further research is needed in the Irish context and with a larger sample size, the results of this small-scale study are encouraging as they suggest that undergraduate educational programmes on bilingualism can impact on attitudes toward multiculturalism and bilingualism among undergraduates. Newly qualified therapists who have completed such training are prepared to enter the work force with a more positive attitude to working in the new multicultural, multilingual Ireland.
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