Participatory Practices in Adult Education

Participatory Practices in Adult Education

Participatory Practices in Adult Education

Participatory Practices in Adult Education


Although there has been a great deal of rhetoric about learner empowerment in educational and community development circles, this book is the first to offer detailed examples of successful participatory practices in adult education spanning a wide range of program settings, such as schools, institutions, communities, and the workplace. The editors join with practitioner colleagues in the United States and Canada to document successes; to network about ideas from active projects, past and present, that have had a participatory component; to share experience, new knowledge, lessons learned, and reflections. The focus is on projects initiated with the intention that greater participation would benefit individuals and groups previously excluded from positions of control. The aim is to provide concrete models and suggestions to practitioners who want to develop the participatory nature of their own activities--from initiation, to organization, goal-setting, and ongoing leadership of adult education programs. Some chapters give detailed descriptions of the triumphs and challenges in individual projects, while others center more on theoretical analysis and reflection on years of experience. All, however, are rooted in particular experiences and give concrete examples from action.

Participatory Practices in Adult Education is a vital resource for both new and experienced practitioners--including basic educators, workplace educators, administrators, policymakers, trainers, human resource managers, and community development workers--who want to learn from the practical experiences of their counterparts, and is highly appropriate as a text for courses in adult education and community development.


Centre for Research on Literacy
University of Alberta

This book describes participatory practices in many environments, including educational and penal institutions, community-based programs, workplace settings, literacy, and English as a Second Language (ESL) programs. In these environments, the term participatory practices refers to education and management, or both. Participatory education is a collective effort in which the participants are committed to building a just society through individual and socioeconomic transformation and ending domination through changing power relations. As educators and students work toward building a just society, participants share, create, analyze, and act on their knowledge and experiences. Participatory management involves the representation of marginalized individuals in an organization's democratic decision-making process. Educators and students, and employers and employees, who work toward creating a democratic organization challenge the hierarchical social relations and power structures that create boundaries among individuals.

The origins of participatory education can be traced to popular education, a model and approach to learning developed in Latin America and pioneered by a Brazilian educator named Paulo Freire. Popular education has been used throughout Latin America to promote literacy and to help people educate and organize themselves around issues such as health care, agriculture, elections, and working conditions. Participatory education and popular education are both based on socialist principles of equality and . . .

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