Developing philosophical and pedagogical principles for a pan-European person-centred curriculum framework

Caroline Dickson, Famke Van Lieshout, Sergej Kmetec, Brendan McCormack, Kirsti Skovdahl, Dr Amanda Phelan, Neal F. Cook, Shaun Cardiff, Donna Brown, Mateja Lorber, Ruth Magowan, Tanya McCance, Jan Dewing, Gregor Stiglic

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Background: In the associated article in this special issue of the International Practice Development Journal, Phelan et al. (2020) offer an analysis of the global positioning of person-centredness from a strategic policy perspective. This second article, an international person-centred education curriculum development initiative, builds on that foundational work. It outlines the systematic, rigorous processes adopted by academics from five European countries to analyse stakeholde data, theoretically frame the data, and thereby identify philosophical and pedagogical principles to inform the development of
person-centred curriculum frameworks.

Aim: To identify key principles that have the potential to create an international curriculum framework for the education of person-centred healthcare practitioners.

Methods: A hermeneutic praxis methodological approach was used, where multiple rounds of data analyses were conducted. These were initially undertaken in each country, then collaboratively with partners, while engaging with other forms of evidence.

Findings: The project group generated a set of principles embedded in four philosophical dimensions: (i) transformative; (ii) co-constructed; (iii) relational; and (iv) pragmatic. The purpose of the curriculum was identified as being transformative, facilitating journeying through knowing, doing, being and becoming a competent and committed person-centred practitioner. A person-centred curriculum is built on a philosophy of pragmatism, adopts a co-constructionist approach to curriculum design and implementation, and encourages connectivity with self, other persons and contexts. Pedagogical
principles, aligned to the four philosophical dimensions, identified the required learning environment, and the learning, teaching and assessment approaches required to educate person-centred healthcare practitioners.

Conclusion: This article represents steps to foster a more focused and engaging way of implicitly and explicitly embedding person-centred care in curricula. Our theoretical framework has enabled us to consider the different layers of practice while staying true to the purpose of curriculum design. The presentation of the framework in this article makes it available for wider critique to those with an interest in this area of study.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-20
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Practice Development Journal
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 30 Sept 2020


  • Person-Centred
  • Education
  • Curriculum
  • principles
  • Hermeneutics
  • healthcare practitioners


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