Is student-centred learning a western concept? Lessons from an academic development programme to support student-centred learning in Iraq

Jordan, L., Bovill, C., Watters, N., Saleh, A.M., Shabila, N.P. and Othman, S.M. (2014) Is student-centred learning a western concept? Lessons from an academic development programme to support student-centred learning in Iraq. Teaching in Higher Education, 19(1), pp. 13-25. (doi:10.1080/13562517.2013.827649)

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Abstract

This paper explores the idea that student-centred learning is a concept and an approach that is internationally useful and transferable to a range of higher education settings. We present details of a British Council funded collaborative project between Hawler Medical University (HMU), in Erbil in the Kurdistan region of Northern Iraq and the University of Glasgow (UoG) in Scotland, UK. The aim of the project was to support teachers within HMU to adopt student-centred learning (SCL) methodologies across the Dentistry, Medicine, Nursing and Pharmacy curricula. We use experiences and evaluation from this project to explore the ways in which different teachers interpreted and enacted student-centred learning. The project evaluation findings demonstrate that as a result of the SCL project, most teachers at HMU demonstrated a slight increase in: their level of confidence as a teacher; their level of understanding of SCL; and confidence in their own skills to undertake SCL. There was a willingness from most participants to try to adapt their teaching practice towards a SCL approach. However, some participants did not fully understand the shift in conceptualisation necessary in adopting a student-centred approach and some were uncomfortable with the need for a shift of power from teacher to student implied within SCL. We conclude by highlighting key lessons learned from this project related to the translatability of student-centred learning from one global context to another, highlighting the need to re-examine a range of Western educational concepts in the current context of increasing transnational higher education partnerships.

Item Type:Articles
Keywords:Student-centred learning, international collaboration, Iraq, medical education
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Bovill, Dr Catherine and Jordan, Ms Lynette and Watters, Dr Natalie
Authors: Jordan, L., Bovill, C., Watters, N., Saleh, A.M., Shabila, N.P., and Othman, S.M.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Education > Social Justice Place and Lifelong Education
Journal Name:Teaching in Higher Education
Publisher:Routledge
ISSN:1356-2517
ISSN (Online):1470-1294

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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
562731Developing student centred learning at Hawler Medical University, IraqLynette JordanBritish Council (BRCOUNCIL)R2.7ED - SOCIAL JUSTICE, PLACE & LIFELONG ED