GLL – on Transformation

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Freire

TOPICS: local global learning, development, Transformation, Adult Education

Step 3 – Part 1: Critical Consciousness

Keywords: Critical Consciousness, Freire, Laszlo, Macroshift,  Merirow, Youngman, enactivist orientation, transformational orientation,

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Link to forum Link to Forum 2

Why is critical consciousness a necessary dimension of transformative adult education

Hi there!

Although our thoughts across the many forums may at times sound  redundant (mine included). I would like to add some “old” ideas that i had previously posted on Our Samarbeta discussion on Youngman , which already dealt with issues of transformation.  I am a bit hesitant to re-introduce these thoughts but I am doing that as I believe it is relevant to this particular forum, also considering that the audience has changed.

Here is a summary of what I believe TRANSFORMATION in Adult Education may be.

I suggest two levels of transformation: 1) personal/local, and 2) local/global. Not everyone and not every context may necessarily become part of either transformation process.

1) TRANSFORMATION AT THE LOCAL/PERSONAL LEVEL (a.k.a. personal growth)

Constructivist progressive orientation

I believe that in this perspective the “educator helps link disparate experiences into a coherent whole.” (Dewey cited in Fenwick, p.3)   Learners are made aware of the level of responsibility required for their educational path. They engage in problem-solving activities to become successful in their chosen fields. The teacher acts as a guide and promoter of critical change geared at reforming and redressing system imbalances through a process of understanding civil responsibility and issues of active citizenship.

2) AT THE LOCAL/GLOBAL LEVEL

This level is more relevant for our discussion. It incorporates the personal growth of the previous step and takes it to a higher level.

At this stage an educator may engage in the following practices:

  • Promoting the discussion of complex and “delicate” intercultural issues
  • Promoting awareness and recognition of issues of – among others – governmentability, self-subjugation, oppression, and discrimination.
  • Promoting awareness, recognition and critique of socially-relevant dimensions, including cultural assumptions. (Intercultural dimension)

I believe that this level, which has a strong political accent, may be approached in different ways, or even a combination of ways. Contextualizing and framing conditions of oppression and inequality is a prerequisite to adopting the most effective approach to global transformation. The role of the state, civil society, stakeholders, and other actors is a defining factor at this complex level of transformation. I have the feeling that most of the actions premised on transformation combine one or more of the following approaches.

Constructivist radical orientation

Here the teacher acts as a promoter of conscience and an external force that can empower students and facilitate social transformation. Freire’s pedagogy of conscientization seems to move in this direction, beyond the stiffness and the oppressing dictates of banking education. However, his ideas – as many of us have realized – are based on a set of dichotomous axioms that may not agree with changed conditions and discourses on transformative education of our time.

I also believe it’s important, for example in the case of South Africa, to consider the intercultural dimension. I believe that a radical approach would be very suitable to examine, discuss, and challenge cultural discourses, assumptions, issues of cultural representations and otherization, and personal narratives. Ultimately, a radical orientation could be more effective at uncovering and possibly overcoming issues of oppression, cultural relativism and essentialism, and eventually at addressing the imbalances that are still part of our social and educational models.

However, this approach may entail possibilities for culture clashes and it may be of difficult application within the dominant world view, given the level of psychological and cultural embeddedness of current educational paradigms and relevant social frameworks and discourses. That’s when dialogue comes in, as a means and context for critical consciousness (awareness would be another word that comes to mind) building.

Constructivist transformational orientation

Here the teacher acts as a promoter of transformation processes. According to Merizow (1991), this approach leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.” by “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them.” (Fenwick, 2001, p. 13)

This orientation is suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection, as suggested by Freire. However, one has to recognize that not everyone is interested in shifting perspective, or capable of reflecting cognitively, in which cases this approach may feel to some like a piloted operation.

From a practical point of view, I believe intercultural dialogic communication as envisioned by intercultural thinkers such as David Bohm, Martin Buber, Fred Casmir, Muneo Yoshikawa and many others belongs within this perspective. It aims at the development of a high level of dialogue competence that can benefit intercultural understanding. (Matoba, 2002, p. 143)

Enactivist orientation

This perspective promotes a new paradigm of learning derived from whole systems thinking. It transcends the confinements of the established world view and its embedded traditional education practices. The educator is viewed as a communicator, story-maker, and interpreter. (Fenwick, 2001, p. 49)

This entails an investigative, open-ended approach to learning that is not separate from teaching. The language used in this perspective is conducive to understanding relations between systems, including the interplay between actors and issues in the education universe. This presides over the co-emergence of an interrelated pattern, in which “each participant’s understandings are entwined with those of other participants, and individual knowledge co-emerges with collective knowledge.” (Fenwick, 2001, p. 49)

Since this approach is linked to the broader, global perspective of whole systems thinking, it allows one to relate her/his professional practice to the emergence of a new thinking paradigm, which I consider central to the role of an educator.

Enactivist educators “can provide feedback loops to a system as it experiments with different patterns leading out from disequilibrium.” (Fenwick, 2001, p.50) This resonates with views of a paradigmal change such as those presented by Dr. Ervin Laszlo, founder of The Club of Budapest, in his work on macroshifts. (Laszlo, 2001)

This perspective, however, may be of difficult application under today’s established educational circumstances, as it requires reframing current paradigms, discourses, and world views. But this is exactly the challenge of transformative education, which is experimental, forward and critical thinking. Freire certainly caught the essence of the imbalances that affect our societies (then, and today). The question for us, I believe, is to incorporate his ideas into the changing context of the third millennium.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Fenwick, T. (2001) “Experiential Learning: A Theoretical Critique from Five Perspectives” Information Series No 385, ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career and Vocational Education now located at the Centre for Education & Training for Employment at Ohio State University, accessed on June 2, 2009 at http://www.uni-koeln.de/hf/konstrukt/didaktik/situierteslernen/fenwick1.pdf

Laszlo, E. (2001). Macroshift: Navigating the transformation to a sustainable world. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler

Matoba, K. (2002) “Dialogue Process as Communication Training for Multicultural Organizations” in Bohnet-Joschko, S. (2002). Socially responsible management:

Mezirow, J. (1991) Transformative Dimensions of Adult Learning. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass

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Zelda Writes:

Dear All

I have read Oscar’s additonal posting.  Thanks so much.  I have asked this question previously, and am asking it again.  What do Mezirow and Youngman propose to change, through transformative adult education (Youngman) and transformative learning (Mezirow)?  is it the same?

Zelda

Hi Zelda,

Sorry for not answering those questions earlier. Here are my thoughts in that regard.

Youngman: his idea of transformative adult education stems from a political analysis of issues of oppression, ultimately from a perspective derived from political economy. He views transformation through adult education as a collective process through which people (the “masses” as Freire would have said) are able to conquer issues of social inequality, disenfranchment, marginalization, discrimination, etc. To a lesser degree than Freire’s theory of conscientization, Youngmans displays a dichotomous perspective that is still heavily influenced by the juxtaposition of capitalist and Marxist class views of a political economy, even though he has come to include many aspects of social issues that cannot be examined from a traditional class perspective. (Feminism, environmentalism, etc) His thinking is the product of 19th and 20th centuries political economy discourses.

Merirow: The core of his transformative learning is the individual learners’ ability to construe, validate, and reformulate the meaning of their experience. The emphasis is on “perspective transformation” as a means to promote personal growth and, eventually influence the emergence of a new society. Rather than a society based on Youngman’s dichotomous views, Merirow envisions a society that would display the traits of a Third-Culture, where the new is not just a better version of the old, but is instead a transformed thinking paradigm. Merirow’s transformative learning is dialectic, suitable to challenge and discuss cultural assumptions through cognitive reflection (it leads “to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world” by “bringing of one’s assumptions, premises, criteria, and schemata into consciousness and vigorously critiquing them”); (p. 13)

“Others’ views can act as mirrors for our own views, opening dialectic, helping us “unfreeze” our “meaning perspectives” (Mezirow 1991) and assumptions.  This is very different from Youngman’s exclusion of juxtaposed views. In Merirow’s case we confront and challenge the taken-for-granted norms— what’s wrong with how I am seeing what happened and how it happened?—leading to a dramatic shift or transformation in the learner’s way of viewing the world.

To summarize, I believe that Youngman’s views on transformation are driven by political discourses and focus on social issues from a political economy perspective. Merirow instead views transformation as an individual process of growth derived from self-reflection and a dialectical approach with the other that will eventually transcend individual differences and give raise to something new akin to a Third-Culture. In this regard, Merirow’s theory is undoubtedly systems-based.

Best,

Oscar

USEFUL LINKS:

http://ezinearticles.com/?Mezirows-Transformational-Learning-Theory&id=937072

http://www.ericdigests.org/1999-2/adulthood.htm

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GLORIA wrote:     link to forum

While oppression remains, so Freire’s ideas remain relevant and more sophisticated, complex or modern concepts serve only to cover up the basics – poverty, inequality, exploitation etc.

Hi Gloria,

Thank you for adding some additional thoughts. Your posts are always interesting.

I’d like to comment on the above, as I am not sure I can agree with you on that hundred per cent. You are absolutely right that the issues remain the same, taking us all back to the overarching role of power in our societies.

During the past century we witnessed a ping pong game between Marxism and Capitalism. They were just two sides of the same coin: they shared the same basic world view. When I consider other options is mainly because such dichotomous game didn’t really change much for marginalized people. It even created additional marginalization and oppression that are more difficult to be detected, as they are so much based on the victims’ “willing” co-operation. (Consumerism, to support the socialist or the capitalist economies, is all about “free” participation.)

I certainly agree that mere philosophical speculations on alternative solutions are not going to feed the starving masses, nor are they going to “solve” anything per se’. I believe, however, that we need to move beyond the Cartesian discourses that have dominated the scene since the age of the Enlightenment. If we don’t do that, we remain stuck.

Oscar

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GLL – On Freire’ Education for critical consciousness

COURSE: Global/Local Learning– GLL

FORUM: Samarbeta

TOPICS: local global learning, development, Transformation, Adult Education

Step 3 – Part 1: What is Transformative Adult Education?

Link to blog

Link to forum

Reading:

Freire, P. (1973) Extracts from the essay entitled Education as the Practice of Freedom in Education for Critical Consciousness, New York: Continuum Publishing Company.

Keywords:

Consciousness, critical consciousness, conscientization, conscientizaçã, oppression, radicalization, sectarianism, assistencialism, fanaticism, Brazil, pedagogy of transformation, social change, education;

CHAPTER SUMMARY

Freire presents the case of education as a means to achieve critical consciousness, which in turn would support the emergence from a state of oppression into a full-fledged democracy.

The excerpt is complex and deals with epistemological, ontological, economic, and social dimensions. Freire begins with ontologically defining men as separate from reality, which he sees as “objective”. He also juxtaposes men to animals, recognizing how the former are conscious being who can be critical of reality. He then proceeds to outline the epistemology of his thought by asserting that learning is the result of reflection (whereas animals learn by reflex). Men, therefore, are equipped with the capacity to critically reflect on their experience, to achieve a state of conscientizaçã that will allow them to conquer oppression and discrimination.

Freire also outlines his idea of time. To him, time is linear – past, present and future – and the perception of such progression is what makes men different from animals. This ability allows men to “enter into the domain which is theirs exclusively – that of History and of Culture.” (p.2)

Still using the analogy men vs. animals, Freire distinguishes between integration and adaptation. He sees adaptation as a form of dehumanizing passive acquiescence to the status quo, whereas integration is a form of active participation that can eventually transform reality. Accordingly, adapted people are mere objects, whereas integrated people are subjects in participative processes of personal and social transformation.

He advocates for a level of awareness that he calls critical consciousness, which will empower people to transcend their status of “oppressed” and become integrated into a new kind of democratic society. Freire recognizes the uncertainty that develops in times of transition from an epoch of oppression to one ensuing from people’s participation and critical consciousness. During such transition, people’s level of social consciousness would hopefully move through stages, from a semi-intransitive level, through naïve transitivity, to critically transitive consciousness. Politically, this latter, higher form of conscientizaçã “is characteristic of authentically democratic regimes and corresponds to highly permeable, interrogative, restless and dialogical forms of life -in contrast to silence and inaction, in contrast to the rigid, militarily authoritarian state.” (p.10) He also recognizes the danger of fanaticism, which would prevent people from developing a full-fledged critical consciousness.

“Naive transitive consciousness can evolve toward critical transitivity, characteristic of a legitimately democratic mentality, or it can be deflected toward the debased, clearly dehumanized, fanaticized consciousness characteristic of massification.” (p.11)

He sees education as instrumental to achieving political and social change through the process of conscientizaçã.

“The special contribution of the educator to the birth of the new society would have to be a critical education which could help to form critical attitudes, for the naive consciousness with which the people had emerged into the historical process left them an easy prey to irrationality. Only an education facilitating the passage from naive to critical transitivity, increasing men’s ability to perceive the challenges of their time, could prepare the people to resist the emotional power of the transition.” (p. 12)

“The education our situation demanded would enable men to discuss courageously the problems of their context -and to intervene in that context; it would warn men of the dangers of the time and offer them the confidence and the strength to confront those dangers instead of surrendering their sense of self through submission to the decisions of others. By predisposing men to reevaluate constantly, to analyze “findings,” to adopt scientific methods and processes, and to perceive themselves in dialectical relationship with their social reality, that education could help men to assume an increasingly critical attitude toward the world and so to transform it.” (p.13)

Freire uses the case of Brazil as a scenario for his argument, concluding that, in order to achieve the changes he supports, Brazil would need to re-appropriate itself of its history and autochthonous culture, rejecting the imported Eurocentric worldview that has contributed to so many problems. This final remarks reminds me of the “emic and etic” perspective used in anthropology and cross-cultural counseling.

CRITIQUE

1) Contradiction between his ontological and epistemological approaches.

I notice a discrepancy in Freire’s initial thoughts. His ontological introduction reminds me of the original view of Behaviorism and Gestalt. Behaviorists believe that reality exists externally and needs to be learned. His epistemological view, however, resonates more with constructivism, which denies the assumption that people are empty boxes, a tabula rasa, that are eager to be filled by instructors with fixed samples of an externally existing world. (in his book “The Pedagogy of the Oppressed”, Freire called it Banking Education.) Constructivism affirms that reality in not extrinsic to learners, who instead use motivation to actively and collaboratively construct their knowledge and meaning from their personal experience. Therefore learning is seen as the product of self-organization and to this end teachers’ role is that of mediators and facilitators.

2) Approach based on an either/or exclusion.

His ideas seem to develop within a dichotomous world, where themes and factors are juxtaposed to one another. This is the case with his view of reactionaries vs. progressives; men vs. animals; state-supported oppression vs. people’s needs; old epoch vs. new epoch; integration vs. adaptation. However, he also recognizes areas that transcend a dichotomous approach. For example he talks about a transition time between past and future.

In general, his world is fairly polarized, with Eurocentric, imported approaches facing off against what he sees as the natural character of autochthonous cultures. I believe that such views are strongly influenced by the contextual conditions in Brazil that he is trying to analyze.

3) His view seems at times to follows the same patters he strongly criticizes.

For example, he sees people at the mercy of “social forces” and relevant “myths”, (p.3) as if his was the only approach top make a correct sense of reality. This is also evident when he suggests that people should overcome adjustment “to become integrated with the spirit of the time.  I wonder who defines such spirit.

4) An overemphasis on rational thinking.

In a citation, the paper says that men will have to make “more and more use of intellectual, and less and less of emotional and instinctive functions.” I disagree with this. As I believe that today’s worldviews suffers from an overload for Western-style thinking based on a Cartesian world view. Transcending it would offer an opportunity for a paradigmal change.

STRATEGIES AND POLICIES ON SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION (1)

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: Participation in education and work; identity and social exclusion.(BLOCK 2)

School and work (BLOCK 3)

TOPICS: EXCLUSION, DISCRIMINATION, SYNERGY, connective model, appropriation, co-participatioN, legitimate peripheral participation life-long learning, agency, individual learning pathways

ASSIGNMENT 2.3

STRATEGIES AND POLICIES ON SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION (1) (link Itslearning)

Hi folks,

As we are sailing into the last phase of the group assignment, here are some thoughts on policies and strategies as I identified them in the readings.

I think that we could identify several levels at which we could effectively tackle issues of exclusion and discrimination.

In the reading, I found a lot of emphasis on the establishment of a broader system of education/formation/workplace training based on a systemic approach.

Guile and Griffiths mentions the need for a synergetic approach that would involve ” re-thinking how students can be supported to relate their ‘vertical development’ and ‘horizontal development’-by addressing the institutional separation of these modes of learning and by taking more account of the influence of context upon learning.” (p. 116)

To me this constitutes the basis for an integrated system that will combine the many agents, stakeholders, institutional centers that will then contribute to the development of a  new platform for work and learning.

As cited in Guile’s article (P.117), such transformation will change Fordist and Tayloristic models of work relationships “and therefore provide workers with broader based forms of responsibility and opportunities to learn and develop (Brown & Lauder, 995).”

Guile and Griffiths suggest a “connective model” (nicely summarized in Savoie-Zaic’s article) in which “trainers and the workplace develop partnerships to create environments that foster learning within the workplace” (Savoie-Zaic, p. 117)

From there, I believe that we can expand into a network of partnerships that will contribute to re-shape and realign power relationships between and inside work and learning contexts and their participants. Schuetze defines such new scenario as “alternation system.” (Schuetze, p. 5-6) Accordingly, a new integrated framework will emerge, based on employers’ needs; learners’ personal identities, histories, and learning styles; through a variety of pathways to education, workplace learning, and work. This system will be based on sound principle of active citizenship.

And this is, I believe, the core concept that will emerge as the most important factor in anti-discrimination policies.

The language used to define the evolving marketplace and education universe at the start of the third millennium appears to be based on a broad sense of inclusion and co-participation. It includes terms like appropriation, co-participation (Billett, co-participation at work), legitimate peripheral participation (Huzzard, Communities of domination), life-long learning, agency, individual learning pathways and more.

I believe that the building of such complex taxonomy shows an attempt to overcome entrenched patterns of exclusion and establish new policies that are more attuned to our ever changing, globalized world.

From my own research about the E.U., it emerged a consistent move towards the reframing of European policies along lines similar to those described above. How are these approaches currently used in different countries? Are they useful to address and overcome issues of discrimination and exclusion?

FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: Participation in education and work; identity and social exclusion.(BLOCK 2)

School and work (BLOCK 3)

TOPICS: FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

ASSIGNMENT 2.2

FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION (4) (link itslearning)

Reply to Claudia’s post

Claudia wrote: Oh Larissa, I read your post and I identify quite the same situation that we live in Mexico about discrimination. Besides the characteristics you mentioned, in Mexico is important if you’re “good looking”, light skin, slim body, height, etc. Of course “pretty” people have the “nicest” jobs. I found this degrading cause we are a “mestizo” culture (Indian and Spanish).

What I know is that Brazil is much more multicultural, anyway as I said before there are so many things in common.

Claudia, Larissa,

The situations you described are not unlike certain situations in Europe. In Italy it’s widespread practice to hire people based on who they know and not what they know. The technical word for that is “raccomandazione.” In Germany, that on the surface seems fairer in its hiring policies, the phenomenon also exists and is know as “Vitamin B” ( B stands for the German word Beziehungen, i.e. “connections”); in the US, where discrimination is for the most part prohibited by law, the same phenomenon is called “networking.”

Here is another example of how discrimination occurs in different countries. In the US, a resume’ should not contain information about the applicant’s place of birth, age, and definitely no picture is required. In Germany, the same information and picture are required on a resume’. One could argue that hiring outcomes in Germany may be affected by such information, and probably they are. The fact is that, like in the case of the US, even when the information is not explicit, employers have ways to find that out: age is easily inferred by the length of employment and education records; race may be linked to the location of schools or from the applicant’s name. Of course, such inference would be arbitrary, but that is exactly what discrimination is about: arbitrary exclusion based on stereotypes and prejudices.

The difference between western and other countries may be that, although discrimination happens apparently everywhere, in the West we find that, at least on paper, the phenomenon is under control. But is it really? Obviously not. E.U. policies and actions against discrimination are great, and hopefully, in the long run, they will produce the kind of paradigmatic change that will eventually make discrimination obsolete.

For more information on E.U. policies on issues of access and discrimination, see

European Commission, Action against discrimination, Civil Society http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/fundamental_rights/index_en.htm

European Commission, Access to employment and social inclusion http://ec.europa.eu/employment_social/esf/fields/employment_en.htm

ACCESS, EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: Participation in education and work; identity and social exclusion.(BLOCK 2)

TOPICS: FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

ASSIGNMENT 2.1

FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION (3) (link to forum)

Reply to Nemin’s post

Nermin wrote:

I’ve tried to look at this the way you suggested, focusing on the Situation/Context today, the Factors behind that, and the Outcomes that have resulted from it. However, I found that the outcome was already covered when explaining the current situation.

I think that you have a point here. I also do believe that contexts may serve as factors of discrimination. Contexts are not neutral environments, as they are shaped by issues of politics and power. They may provide a climate for limited access and discrimination even before applicants and learners appear on the scene.

Nermin wrote:

Situation/Context

(..) If we want to show how that is evident in education and employment opportunities we can take an elite private university as an example. (…) Their selection criteria would focus on maintaining that elite status, accepting people of certain social levels. In order to attract that caliber their selection criteria for employment would also focus on an elite staff, foreign nationalities, international degrees, and work experience in elite institutions.

I think I understand the scenario that you are presenting in your post. I believe it reflect current trends in certain countries ( is Egypt one of them?) that rely on foreign education to sustain and perpetuate their ruling class. I believe that this may not always be the case with European countries, that are still heavily relaying on their own education credentials. “International degrees and foreign nationalities” may be talked about as important in a person’s personal development and career pathway, but I am afraid that in reality in each country the selection process is still heavily informed by national policies and education policies. As an example, you stand a much better chance at getting a job in Germany or Italy if you have received your academic credentials in-country. In fact, the use of foreign credential (from non EU-countries) in the public sector very often feels like an up-hill bureaucratic nightmare.

SUMMARY: ASSIGNMENT 2.1

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: Participation in education and work; identity and social exclusion.(BLOCK 2)

TOPICS: FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION IN EDUCATION AND EMPLOYMENT

SUMMARY: ASSIGNMENT  2.1

FACTORS OF SOCIAL EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION (link to forum)

Here are some summarizing thoughts on factors of social exclusion and discrimination that I gathered from the readings.

In ILO’s paper on “learning and Training for Work” we have seen how enabling access to education and training is viewed as a pillar of policy making efforts to ensure people’s participation in “economic and social life.” (p.1) Education and training are seen as the gateway to employment, which in turn would help overcome poverty. Such premises inform current E.U. policies on access and inclusion. Many countries’ training and education systems are based on such premises, as clearly explained by Peter Kearns and George Papadopolous in “Building a learning and training culture: The experience of five OECD countries.” However, in my view such approach may be too linear, discounting the complexity of present day’s economic disarray. It is definitely true that “governments throughout the world are taking action to promote access of these groups to education, training and skills development in different ways,” (ILO, ch.2 p. 12) but in reality such programs may have limited effects on general employability during dire economic times.

But who has access to learning and work? Personally, I believe that to date education credentials serve as powerful access-regulating devices, which means that access to the job market depends on applicants’ formal credentials. There are of course many other forms of more or less overt discrimination that may affect access to the job market are: gender, nationality, age, language, immigration status, university affiliation, perceived ethnic profile.

Most of the aforementioned factors were not addressed in the readings, However, access to employment and continuing academic and professional formation may be hindered by other more “technical” factors that were discussed in the articles. Here is a brief summary of them as they emerged from my reading.

1) ISSUES OF ACCESS WITHIN COMMUNITIES OF PRACTICE

Guile & Griffiths recognize that access to skill formation in communities of practice may be subject to discriminatory policies. “This raises the question of how easily students gain access to and operate in such work contexts. A recurring assumption in the general education and VET work experience literature is that this happens ipso facto. However, this neglects the extent to which participating in a ‘community of practice’ can be highly problematic. As Gheredi et al. (1998) have observed, it requires ‘host’ organisations actively to provide opportunities for learners to observe, discuss and try out different practices with members of the ‘community’ they have temporarily joined.” (p.118)

Power

As I wrote in my other post on power in “Communities of domination,” Huzzard recognizes the role of power in issues of access to learning in communities of practice. He suggests that “the power dimension was arguably lost in a process whereby the communities of practice became “popularised” to appeal to a management audience (Brown and Duguid, 1991).” (p. 352) He also recognizes that language can be a factor of social exclusion and discrimination: “In unequal power relations, the dominant party may actively choose to communicate or construct reality by selecting certain linguistic formations, or may simply communicate in the taken-for-granted formations which seem appropriate in context.”(p. 355)

2) ISSUES OF ACCESS TO COOPERATIVE EDUCATION OPPORTUNITIES

Grosjean in Co-op Education recognizes that the Canadian Co-op model is becoming increasingly like an elite program with restricted access.

“With restrictive access to co-op and privileged opportunities for ‘good’ jobs becoming the norm, co-op is showing signs of becoming an elite program.” (p.209) “Access to co-op programs is becoming increasingly restrictive. Only ‘the best’ students are admitted.” (p.209) furthermore, co-op programs seem to favor students with good grades and with the learning styles that are conducive to receiving such grades. “Because academic rewards are based on grades, personal learning styles tend to favour those known to deliver the high grades required to remain in the co-op program.” (p.212)

3) ISSUES OF ACCESS TO THE JOB MARKET AND TO FURTHER JOB FORMATION OPPORTUNITIES

From my understanding, segmented labor market theory as presented by Defreitas serves as both a factor of discrimination that impacts access and participation , and as a policy feature that serves as perpetuating a system of inequality.

4) PERSONAL ISSUES THAT MAY LEAD TO EXCLUSION AND DISCRIMINATION

I also believe that the experience of wounding learning as cited in Wojecki’s article may be a factor that may negatively affect a learner’s attitude towards further education (academic and workplace formation).

On Andrew Wojecki’s article: What’s identity got to do with it, anyway?

COURSE: WORK AND LEARNING

FORUM: Participation in education and work; identity and social exclusion.(BLOCK 2)

TOPICS: WOJECKI, ACCESS, DISCRIMINATION, EXCLUSION

On Andrew Wojecki’s article: What’s identity got to do with it, anyway? (link to forum)

Reply to Claudia’s post

Claudia wrote:

For me while reading Wojecki’s article I agree with most of his states. Opposite of what you mentioned Dana.

And I agree on the basis that he worked with these adult learners over a two year period. When working with the same individuals from this term you can and in my point of view is a must to listen deeper and further connect with them (as Wojecki stated).

I reckon we have to look at both considering the relation between learners and teachers is reciprocal, there’s shared responsibility and commitment.

Claudia,

As a teacher, I also believe that Wojecki’s article has merit. It is in line with current educational approaches that place responsibility on both educators and learners. I nevertheless raised a question on the feasibility of such “intense” approach, given the already energy and time-consuming demands placed on teachers. I would think that Wojecki’s ideas should be included in the general learner-centered approach to education, as they broaden the context of learning so as to include past learning experiences and individual present dynamics of learning.

Having said that, the question here is how relevant is Wojecki’s article to our analysis for Assignment 2.

I believe that his ideas could be situated at the THIRD LEVEL (see my other post ), i.e. at the interface of previous learning experiences and workplace, when a learner seeks access into the job market. Today, as it was recognized in other threads, formal education credentials play a pivotal role in the selection process. ( I am using the term “formal education” as a way to refer to school and universities, even though Billet goes out of his way to show that in reality this is an artificial distinction.) Applicants find it difficult to have their experience considered within the hiring process; this way they may become victim of discrimination. Giving value to individuals’ identity building process and personal narratives could be a way to partly overcome exclusion at the “access to employment” level.

I also believe that his ideas could be situated at the SECOND LEVEL (see my other post), after people gain access to education and jobs. In this case, discrimination in the form of disregard fro the personal narratives and identities of learners/employees may emerge as policy traits embedded in current dominant views on skill formation, which situate the power clearly in the employers’ hands. In this case, how teachers/mentors/expert co-workers see their role could make a big difference in the way learners/employees learn. Wojecki suggests the following pedagogical strategy:

“Through examining and reflecting on how our teaching and assessment practices cultivate, encourage, and promote opportunities for adult learners to reflect on how they see themselves in the world, spaces may be created where learners experiment in re-authoring their identities for learning. As adult educators, we occupy privileged spaces in which we interact within the stories that comprise learners’ lives. Attending to learners’ identities, and listening to the stories of learning they tell and re-tell may assist us as we shape our own identities and practices as adult educators.” (p. 180)

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