Student-centered learning has been conceived as a Western export to the East and the developing world in the last few decades. Philosophers of education often associate student-centered learning with frameworks related to meeting the needs of individual pupils: from Deweyan experiential learning, to the ‘pedagogy of the oppressed’ and other social justice orientations. Yet student-centered learning has also become, in the era of neoliberal education, a jingoistic advertisement for practices and ideologies which can be seen to lead to a global devaluation of the educational profession, and the bolstering of the view of the student as a customer. In this article, I want to disentangle these views and explore some limitations of either model of student-centered learning. To add context, I consider education in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) today, which provides an extreme example of the risks involved with prioritizing student’s self-identified needs and interests above all else, as in an idealized or exaggerated student-centered concept. I conclude with brief comments on amending the philosophical concept of student-centered learning to be useful in diverse contexts today. Copyright © 2014 Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia.
CitationJackson, L. (2015). Challenges to the global concept of student-centered learning with special reference to the United Arab Emirates: ‘Never fail a Nahayan’. Educational Philosophy and Theory, 47(8), 760-773. doi: 10.1080/00131857.2014.901161
- Student-centered learning
- Philosophy of education
- Outcomes-based education
- United Arab Emirates