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

Lynette Jordan, Catherine Bovill, Samir Othman, Abubakir Saleh, Nazar Shabila, Natalie Watters

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

This paper explores the idea that student-centred learning (SCL) 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 this project was to support teachers within HMU to adopt 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 SCL. 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 levelof 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 an 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 the key lessons learned from this project related to the translatability of SCL 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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)13-25
Number of pages13
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2 Sep 2013

Keywords

  • student-centred learning
  • Iraq
  • academic development

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