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10-01-2019 | Eye-Opener | Uitgave 1/2019 Open Access

Perspectives on Medical Education 1/2019

Problems of problem-based learning: Towards transformative critical pedagogy in medical education

Perspectives on Medical Education > Uitgave 1/2019
Alice Cavanagh, Meredith Vanstone, Stacey Ritz
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Previous Presentations: A paper based on this work was given at the MacPherson Institute’s Annual Research on Teaching & Learning Conference at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario in October 2017; a poster based on this work was presented at The Canadian Conference on Medical Education in Halifax, Nova Scotia in April 2018.


Problem-based medical education is based in a biomedical worldview that works to entrench deterministic ways of thinking about socioculturally-influenced health disparities in the minds of medical trainees. This perspective paper considers the utility of Paolo Freire’s critical pedagogy as a means of redressing this issue, as it may enable medical learners to perceive and address the social sources of illness that shape their patients’ lives. With an eye to advancing health equity, and educating health professionals who are responsive to marginalized and vulnerable communities, this paper considers how a problem-posing medical education could redefine physicians’ relationships to knowledge, identity, and to their patients.
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