FLIP: Perspectives on adult learning and my learning dimension

COURSE: Fostering Learning in Practice

FORUM: Koala

TOPICS: Fenwick, reflections, adult learning, experiential learning, constructivism,

WEEK 9 – Task 2: Perspectives on adult learning and my learning dimension

Link to blog Link to forum


What insights do you now have about the way you view the learning dimension in your workplace setting?

I am more aware of the established function of the institution, which, in spite of lip service to themes and values found in the contructivist/humanistic perspective, still influences teachers’ and students’ behavior and attitudes towards teaching and learning. These reflections were prompted by my readings on Usher and Edwards, Foucault and Chappell et al. (see my previous post, and my comments below )

What do you feel are the strengths and weaknesses of the selected perspective/s that best ‘fitted’ you in the context of your positioning as a learning practitioner in your workplace?

Since I have engaged in a system, non-linear perspective, I will need to include the major factors in my analysis.

I have selected two levels that will be helpful to outline my position.

Micro level:

  • manages the learning context;
  • promotes dialogue;
  • provides for a conducive and respectful learning environment

At this level I believe in the applicability of the following perspective(s):

Constructivist (humanist/progressive)

Possible strengths:

Learner oriented, geared towards self-realization and growth; mindful of others’ differences; open to dialogue; learning environment based on trust, authenticity, integrity, mutual respect, and patience; scaffholding pedagogy; partial recognition of experiential learning.

Possible weaknesses:

possibly enmeshed with the established institutional structures; focused on adaptation rather than transformation; learning experience may be piloted by educators;

Macro (global) level:

  • Allows for discussion of diverse themes.
  • Awareness and recognition of issues of governmentability (Foucault) , self-subjugation (Chappell et al), and confessional education (Usher and Edwards)
  • Awareness, recognition and critique of social dimensions (radical view and transformation approach (Merizow, p. 13) are suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions)

At this level I believe in the applicability of the following perspective(s):

Constructivist (radical):

Possible strength:

Fostering social awareness and action-oriented learning; mindful of issues of governmentability (Foucault), confessional education (Usher and Edwards) and false consciousness (Chappell et al.); suitable to examine, discuss, and challenge cultural discourses, assumptions, issues of representations and otherization, and personal narratives. A radical orientation could be more effective at uncovering and possibly overcoming issues of oppression, cultural relativism and essentialism, and ultimately addressing the imbalances that are still part of our social and educational models.

Possible weaknesses:

may be difficult to apply to current world view; too theoretical; possibility for culture clashes; difficult to implement given the level of psychological and cultural embeddedness of current learning and teaching paradigms and ensuing social frameworks and discourses.

Constructivist (transformational, Merizow):

Possible strengths:

dialectic, suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection (leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.” “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them”); (p. 13)

useful for the introduction of learners into a system thinking approach (see macro level)

Possible weaknesses:

Not everyone is interested in shifting perspective; not everyone is interested in or capable of cognitive reflecting; it may feel like a piloted operation;

System approach (enactivist perspective):

Possible strengths:

participation and co-emergence, innovative, forward thinking, global; interdisciplinary; thinking outside the box of current education orientations; empowering; may lead to actual breaks through (The system breaking point sometimes heralds the start of a paradigmatic macroshift, as suggested by Dr. Ervin Laszlo);  “Educators can provide feedback loops to a system as it experiments with different patterns leading out from disequilibrium.” (p.50)

Possible weaknesses:

Not easily understood; requires a lot of reframing of current paradigms and world views;

In what ways do they help you to make sense of how you might approach/ move forward with your learning dimension?

By acting at the two levels suggested above, I will be able to raise awareness of the intercultural communication dimension. By acting as a communicator, story maker, and interpreter I will assist learners in the emergence of a new consciousness through processes of transformation.


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