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ERIC Number: EJ1086945
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: 11
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0748-8475
Schizophrenia: A Journey through Higher Education
Zeeuw, Diane
Thought & Action, p9-19 Win 2015
Professor Diane Zeeuw describes her son's experience of being diagnosed with schizophrenia in early adulthood, and how despite the fact that he may never hold a job or raise a family, or even be able to live fully independently, he still has a deep and abiding love of learning. Most serious psychiatric disorders are first diagnosed between the ages of 18 and 28, making this a condition that almost exclusively manifests during the period of time we expect our young people to be attending college. Often forgotten in our rush to a metrics-driven analysis of education is this effectively invisible population of neurologically disabled students. If a person may never be able to hold a job, should this also prevent him or her from engaging in higher educational opportunities? The author suggests that rather than merely adjusting our values, perhaps we need to reexamine our basic presuppositions regarding what constitutes education. Many researchers (e.g., Piaget, Vygotsky, and Engestrom) have suggested we shift our conceptualization of education from thinking in terms of product or performance outcomes to conceiving of it as an activity. Given this model, students and teachers may be thought of as engaging in the activity of learning together. Learning is thus to be understood as open-ended, provisional, culturally embedded, hermeneutically dialectical, and ongoing. The author argues that from an ethical rather than a financial standpoint, full access to education, irrespective of each individual's potential capacity to contribute to the future economy, should be intrinsic to our notion of citizenship. She offers four suggestions as possible avenues for action: (1) Educators must be willing to openly, and in an informed manner, discuss the many fears, myths, and misconceptions historically shrouding the topic of severe mental illness; (2) We must critically reassess our self-comforting institutional discourse of accommodation; (3) We need to expand institutional and professional notions of success, and be more cognizant of the message graduation-rate benchmarks send to our student population; and (4) It is absolutely critical that we expand our discourse on issues of diversity. It is imperative for educators to stop retreating into more easily negotiated definitions limited by sexual orientation, socio-economics, ethnicity, or race.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A