Causal mechanisms generating writing competency discourses in a radiography curriculum in higher education: A critical realist perspective

26 Jul 2016

When education is jointly managed by a workplace and academia, causal mechanisms in the culture, structure and agency of these two contexts may unintentionally generate discourse that conveys conflicting messages for learners regarding some of the priorities of the profession. Using the concepts of culture, structure and agency as they are used in critical realism to analyse the discourse generated in two teaching and learning contexts (a radiography division in a university and a radiography workplace in a large state tertiary academic hospital), this paper attempts (i) to identify possible causal mechanisms that generated discourse concerning the role and value of writing competency for radiographers, such that this discourse possibly influenced learners not to be motivated to improve their writing competency to their lecturers' satisfaction; and (ii) to suggest what practices and influences might successfully generate an alternative emancipatory discourse. Drawing on Margaret Archer's (1995) morphogenetic approach, the paper argues that the radiography lecturers have the primary agency to address this unsatisfactory situation, as it is through their interaction - both as a team and with other relevant stakeholders - that an alternative emancipatory discourse may be generated.