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deficit model


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A perspective which attributes failures such as lack of achievement, learning, or success in gaining employment to a personal lack of effort or deficiency in the individual, rather than to failures or limitations of the education and training system or to prevalent socio‐economic trends. For example, the argument for the introduction of youth and adult training schemes in the 1981 White Paper A New Training Initiative included the suggestion that because people lacked skills there were no jobs for them, and that therefore this deficit must be addressed by appropriate training. The implication here was that unemployment arose from a deficiency in the unemployed themselves, rather than from economic trends. The deficit model of teaching, in which the teacher provides the learning to make good a deficit, stands in direct contrast to the belief that the teacher's role is to draw out learners' tacit knowledge and understanding through questioning and facilitation.

The deficit model perspective is also apparent in the view expressed in some discourses about learner attainment and behaviour which suggest that it is a deficit of some kind in the teacher's performance which leads to such problems, and that learner attainment and behaviour can therefore be improved simply by changing the teacher's behaviour or by enhancing their skills through professional development. An application of the deficit model, as can be seen from these examples, is often indicative of an oversimplified view of the issue in question.

Subjects: Social sciencesEducation


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