ERIC Number: ED396190
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Adult Education for Social Change: From Center Stage to the Wings and Back Again. Information Series No. 365.
To what extent was social change on center stage during adult education's formative years? Whose vision embraced social change and whose did not? What factors led to the decline of social action as a goal of adult education, and what factors suggest renewed interest in social goals? This paper examines these questions, beginning in the 1920s with the vision of Eduard Lindeman and John Dewey. It considers the contradictory roles of adult education practice bringing learners into conformity with mainstream expectations; selecting, developing, and validating the privileges of an educated elite; and linking learning with social change. The influence of human capital theory upon adult education practices has fostered divisions between those concerned with developing autonomous individuals and those concerned with encouraging social responsiblity, between those focused on professional status for adult educators and those emphasizing social action. In the 1980s, such movements as popular education, feminism, and critical theory led to increasing calls for a revitalized adult education curriculum focused on transformation and learning to take action. Two influential educators inspired practice for social change: Myles Horton and Paulo Freire. As adult education becomes a big business and remains an instrument for the legitimation and perpetuation of the status quo, grassroots efforts continue to link learning with democratic social change. The paper concludes that what may be needed is reconstruction of the foundations of adult education and possibly renaming of the field of practice and study. Contains 126 references. (Author/SK)
Descriptors: Adult Education, Adult Educators, Change, Democracy, Educational History, Educational Philosophy, Role of Education, Social Action, Social Change
Center Publications, Center on Education and Training for Employment, 1900 Kenny Road, Columbus, OH 43210-1090 (order no. IN365: $8; quantity discounts).
Publication Type: ERIC Publications
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: Office of Educational Research and Improvement (ED), Washington, DC.
Authoring Institution: ERIC Clearinghouse on Adult, Career, and Vocational Education, Columbus, OH.
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A