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Understanding the theory-practice issue for acupuncture education in the UK

Brah, KK; (2018) Understanding the theory-practice issue for acupuncture education in the UK. Doctoral thesis (Ph.D), UCL (University College London).

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Abstract The aim of this thesis is to address the overarching research question: ‘What is the relationship between theory and practice and the issue that arises between them for acupuncture education in the UK?’. The issue refers to a lack of means for practitioners to competently deal with situations that arise in practice and, has long been recognised as existing in most forms of professional education. The theoretical framework for this study’s investigation traces the reasons for the issue between theory and practice through discussing the shifts in the education, practice and regulation of acupuncture from China to the UK. The theory-practice debates within professional education are also analysed and, professional judgment is considered as a way to connect theory and practice for acupuncture education in the UK. The investigation of the overarching research question entails a case study formed by two distinct models through which acupuncture is currently taught in the UK: the university and the apprenticeship models. These models are also compared and contrasted in view of achieving the objectives to identify: 1) Which elements of each model’s curriculum and pedagogic approaches work best to facilitate the theory-practice relationship, 2) How students can be equipped to develop their professional knowledge upon becoming practitioners. The university model is represented by teachers and students from two institutions, while the apprenticeship model is represented by the principal of an acupuncture apprenticeship programme and the Barefoot Doctor: an experienced acupuncturist who trained through an apprenticeship. Practitioners of acupuncture are also included. Qualitative data were collected through one-to-one interviews and focus groups. The study reveals that alongside the features that facilitate the theory-practice relationship and the development of professional knowledge, a number of concerns emerge through the organisation and pedagogic approaches that these models adopt, thereby hindering the theory-practice relationship. Recommendations are offered for students, teachers and practitioners to understand the connections between theory and practice, and conduct professional judgment effectively. The limitations and recommendations for areas for further research are also discussed.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Qualification: Ph.D
Title: Understanding the theory-practice issue for acupuncture education in the UK
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Education > UCL Institute of Education
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10050073
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