Exploring signature pedagogies in radiography education at a South African university.
The radiography profession is dynamic and is greatly influenced by advances in medical technology, and political, socio- economic factors. This raises questions about the ability of radiography teaching and learning strategies to equip students with the necessary skills for professional practice in the 21st century. This is an indication that there is a need to identify pedagogies as well as teaching and learning strategies that will ensure that the 21st century students are well inducted into the profession. In 2005 Shulman introduced a theory of signature pedagogies, after observing how professions such as medicine and law inducted their students into their professions. Signature pedagogies are methods, or modes, of teaching that are indistinguishably identified with preparing students for a particular profession, turning novices into professionals who have the ability to think, perform and act with integrity. Innovative pedagogies are essential to ensure that future radiographers have the necessary skills to think critically, perform and act with professionalism and integrity according to the standards of the profession. The purpose of the study was to identify teaching and learning strategies that are frequently employed by those involved in radiography education, both in academic and clinical education. It was also to explore and to identify the presence of any characteristics of signature pedagogies, and to determine the existence of signature pedagogies in the teaching and learning strategies employed by professionals involved in radiography education. The findings of the study, obtained through interviews, classroom observations and document analysis, established that clinical education is the signature pedagogy in radiography education. Signature pedagogies by nature have embedded in them epistemological, ontological and axiological aspects. These were identified within clinical education. Although there are variations locally, nationally and internationally on how clinical education is structured, it was however observed that there are other characteristics of signature pedagogies such as pervasive, routine and involve active student engagement, which further satisfy Shulman’s criterion of signature pedagogies. Elements of signature pedagogies were noted in the simulation and demonstration pedagogies. These need further exploration due to the limited number of participants in this study.