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Thinking the post-colonial in medical education

Bleakley, Alan, Brice Browne, Julie and Bligh, John 2008. Thinking the post-colonial in medical education. Medical Education 42 (3) , pp. 266-270. 10.1111/j.1365-2923.2007.02991.x

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Abstract

Context Western medicine and medical techniques are being exported to all corners of the world at an increasing rate. In a parallel wave of globalisation, Western medical education is also making inroads into medical schools, hospitals and clinics across the world. Despite this rapidly expanding field of activity, there is no body of literature discussing the relationship between post-colonial theory and medical education. Discussion Although the potential benefits of international partnerships and collaborations in education are incontrovertible, many medical educators are sometimes too unreflecting about what they are doing when they advocate the export of Western curricula, educational approaches and teaching technologies. The Western medical curriculum is steeped in a particular set of cultural attitudes that are rarely questioned. We argue that, from a critical theoretical perspective, the unconsidered enterprise of globalising the medical curriculum risks coming to represent a ‘new wave’ of imperialism. Using examples from Japan, India and Southeast Asia, we show how medical schools in non-Western countries struggle with the ingrained cultural assumptions of some curricular innovations such as the objective structured clinical examination, problem-based learning and the teaching of clinical skills. Conclusions We need to develop greater understanding of the relationship between post-colonial studies and medical education if we are to prevent a new wave of imperialism through the unreflecting dissemination of conceptual frameworks and practices which assume that ‘metropolitan West is best’.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Postgraduate Medical and Dental Education
Medicine
Subjects: L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
R Medicine > R Medicine (General)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Education, scientific disciplines; education; medical/*organization-&-administration; *international cooperation; teaching/*methods; curriculum
Publisher: Wiley
ISSN: 0308-0110
Last Modified: 20 Oct 2017 10:53
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/10128

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