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ORIGINAL RESEARCH PAPER
Year : 2011  |  Volume : 24  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 536

Pedagogy for Rural Health


University of Cape Town, South Africa

Correspondence Address:
S J Reid
c/o PHC Directorate, E47 OMB GSH, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Cape Town, Observatory 7925
South Africa
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


PMID: 21710423

Context: As the body of literature on rural health has grown, the need to develop a unifying theoretical framework has become more apparent. There are many different ways of seeing the same phenomenon, depending on the assumptions we make and the perspective we choose. A conceptual and theoretical basis for the education of health professionals in rural health has not yet been described. Approach: This paper examines a number of theoretical frameworks that have been used in the rural health discourse and aims to identify relevant theory that originates from an educational paradigm. The experience of students in rural health is described phenomenologically in terms of two complementary perspectives, using a geographic basis on the one hand, and a developmental viewpoint on the other. The educational features and implications of these perspectives are drawn out. Discussion: The concept of a 'pedagogy of place' recognizes the importance of the context of learning and allows the uniqueness of a local community to integrate learning at all levels. The theory of critical pedagogy is also found relevant to education for rural health, which would ideally produce 'transformative' graduates who understand the privilege of their position, and who are capable of and committed to engaging in the struggles for equity and justice, both within their practices as well as in the wider society. Conclusion: It is proposed that a 'critical pedagogy of place,' which gives due acknowledgement to local peculiarities and strengths, while situating this within a wider framework of the political, social and economic disparities that impact on the health of rural people, is an appropriate theoretical basis for a distinct rural pedagogy in the health sciences.


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