Gender and Discourses of Independent Learning in Medical Education

Maria Tsouroufli, Mustafa F. Ozbilgin

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Gender and independent learning have been the focus of a growing body of research in compulsory, post-compulsory, professional and higher education. However, the concept of independent learning in medical education remains ambiguous and its gender assumptions and implications largely unchallenged. This paper draws on narrative research with 20 doctors in the United Kingdom (UK). It examines senior hospital doctors’ perceptions and practices of independent learning in their undergraduate/postgraduate years and in their current job as medical trainers and lifelong learners. Our study clearly demonstrates that the dominant discourse of independent learning was constituted and reproduced on notions and practices of freedom, self-reliance, clinical competence and confidence, emotional control and rationality, all of which implicitly privilege men over women in medical education. We demonstrate how this male privilege is maintained and reproduced. We contend that that gender analysis of independent learning challenges the assumed gender neutrality of UK medical education.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)37-47
    Number of pages11
    JournalGlobal Education Review
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jul 2012


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