Critical Pedagogy for Health Professions and International Learning Experiences
Keywords:health education, international experiences, experiential learning, community-based education
Experiential and community-based learning is common in health sciences education as a transition from conceptual level coursework to application of learning at the practical and practice levels. Programs typically focus on knowledge acquisition and obtaining a conceptual level understanding of the material for the initial curriculum, followed by experiential learning and application of that conceptual knowledge in a clinical setting. To address the nuances of health sciences education in the international, community-based context, this study proposes a pathway to facilitating the adoption of a new critical pedagogy accounting for an increasingly globalized and connected world and the need for mediation of the relationship between learning theory and global health education. Bierema’s (2018) models are commonly utilized in health education during the initial curricular stages and are discussed, while Kolb’s (1984) interpretation of Kurt Lewin’s experiential learning theory is offered as the appropriate conceptualization to support the development of a critical pedagogy for international, community-based health education learning experiences. As part of this pedagogy, relevant, foundational theoretical approach to students` experiential learning should support critical observation and reflection. We recommend that educators provide practice-based education that focuses on improved outcomes of experiential learning so that learners do not just recreate their own lived experiences of order, structure and power, instead to use a critical pedagogical approach which allows learners to examine their own social conditioning and biases so that they are empowered to engage, work and live across cultures.
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