Community Education, Learning and Development

Community Education, Learning and Development

Community Education, Learning and Development

Community Education, Learning and Development

Excerpt

The overall aim of this book is to analyse the conceptual, policy and political ideas underpinning community education and the varieties of practice in which community educators engage. Community education's primary purpose is education within and for communities. However, it can be difficult to define as its focus varies over time in response to changing local, national and global educational priorities, so the first chapter begins with a discussion of the traditions that have underpinned current practices. It traces the social and economic developments in the nineteenth century that led to demands for social reforms and argues that the practice that followed represented two main traditions that either challenged or supported the status quo and shows that these traditions are still present in policy and practice today. The first chapter also discusses another factor that impacts on the work of community educators—the ways in which the notion of'community' is defined. It argues that the concept of community has been used in policy and practice to create boundaries around what counts as acceptable action for community educators for example, when a community is seen as only comprising people living in particular geographical areas. It then goes on to discuss how solidarities across the different types of communities—of place, interest and function—can be developed.

The second chapter explores in detail how community education has developed in Scotland through an examination of the assumptions behind government policies and the ensuing practice developments. The focus is on the spaces that these policies create for making a real difference to the lives of people. Chapter 3 also focuses on policy discourses. It traces the rise of lifelong learning up the policy agenda, identifies the underlying assumptions that are made and the implications of these for community educators. It argues that whilst a commitment to lifelong learning brings many opportunities for growth, development and fulfilment, without careful intervention within a social justice framework, it can also serve to reinforce inequalities.

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