Transformative Adult Education Thesis

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Transformative Adult Education

Did you notice any common themes in the three articles or conflicts and tensions in the ideas expressed by the different authors of the articles?

What is the purpose of adult education? Is it to help the individual pursue a more fruitful economic life? Is it to help the learner realize personal goals, such as achieving a sense of personal fulfillment or finding a 'voice' in defiance of social and community-imposed norms? Is it to show disenchanted adult learners that the educational process can 'work for them'? Or is it to act as a medium of political change in a community? While most educational theorists grant that adult education has the potential to create changes within the individual and society, whether the goal should be to change the individual to help the individual better fit into existing societal molds remains debatable.

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As suggested by Jennifer Ferrigno's article on "Teaching for empowerment: Liberatory pedagogy, social change and gender dynamics," while it is a laudable goal to use education as a tool of personal and economic empowerment for women, empowerment does not 'take care of itself.' The teacher must carefully orchestrate social change and consciousness-raising to help students to fully enjoy the benefits they receive from the educational process. It cannot be assumed that subtle changes, such as the interjection of inclusive language into the classroom will automatically result in a sense of liberation. True liberation from class and gender constraints can be achieved through the creation of a world in the classroom where women can 'find their voice' and then use the education they receive to change society.

Thesis on Transformative Adult Education Assignment

Ferrigno focuses on a Marxist technique known as 'popular education,' designed as a method of class-based liberation in Latin America. The approach has been deemed problematic in recent years, particularly amongst feminists and postmodernist theorists that critique its focus on only one dynamic of social oppression, that of class. However, Ferrigno believes the popular education paradigm has proved useful when tailored to the needs of specific population groups, such as women and immigrants to America, and can achieve what she sees as the goal of adult education, to help women use what they learn in the classroom to challenge their community's and the nation's ideals of what it means to be a Latina. If this is not accomplished, Ferrigno's article implies, their education will be of little use. Ferrigno analyzes an attempt to use such an educational philosophy to empower Latina women in the classroom and in their community, as well as mobilize them in more conventional ways. Said one teacher: "I looked around the room and realized that there was so much interaction and lively discussion -- everyone was talking during small group sessions...I realized the power that exists when exercises are designed specifically for quiet people to have space and to have voice." Eventually, using specific techniques designed to address the needs of having a 'voice' as a marginalized individual because of gender as well as class, one student found the confidence to stand up and speak in front of one hundred people.

It was not enough to engage in popular education to enact change without addressing gender and other issues germane to the specific community being targeted. The goal of the adult education, Ferrigno implies, is achieving social change by mobilizing political change on the part of the individual, and fostering the meaningful participation of women in the classroom, without assuming a one-size fits all approach to popular, populist education. To promote gender equality in the Latina community and racial and gender equality in society begins in the classroom, but must extend outside of the classroom. Encouraging female speech, having women-only spaces to encourage greater discussion addressing practical considerations like the need for childcare during school hours and finding 'teachable moments' with social issues is vital.

Adult Education for Social Change" by Guo and Sork likewise seeks to find role for adult education in community development. Guo and Sork focus on changing the individual to 'fit' into society, rather than changing society.… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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