ERIC Number: ED402472
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1996
Reference Count: N/A
Adult Education: Social Change or Status Quo? ERIC Digest No. 176.
Since the 1920s, the focus of adult education has shifted from social change to professionalization to an emphasis on literacy and lifelong learning in a changing workplace. The adult education literature reflects ongoing debate over whether adult education should focus primarily on individuals or society and whether it should serve as a means of empowerment in a democratic society or an instrument for maintaining the status quo. Those who claim that adult education's mission is to support the status quo emphasize that adult education in North America serves primarily to socialize adults into changing circumstances in a basically stable (democratic-capitalist) society. Professionalization of adult educators also extends and upholds the existing system. On the other side of the debate are those who assert that, because of its emphasis on collaborative learning, knowledge production, power, and praxis (the interrelationship of reflection and action and theory and practice), adult education is a means of empowering people and thereby working for social change. It has been suggested that enlarging the boundaries of the profession of adult education to include those engaged in social action and change could build a bridge between academics and front-line activists. (Contains 17 references.) (MN)
Publication Type: ERIC Publications; ERIC Digests in Full Text
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.