Community Education, Lifelong Learning and Social Inclusion

Community Education, Lifelong Learning and Social Inclusion

Community Education, Lifelong Learning and Social Inclusion

Community Education, Lifelong Learning and Social Inclusion

Synopsis

Lynn Tett has updated and expanded her discussion about community education development. It illustrates the conceptual as well as political debates about the role, purpose, and practice of community education. This second edition moves behind the policy rhetoric to recognize and explore some of the tensions in current policy trends, particularly the danger of seeing social marginalisation as an individual problem rather than as a result of structured inequalities. A number of community education projects are examined giving a real sense of the approach being advocated and making the case for a model of lifelong learning focusing on democratic renewal. The task of community educators is not an easy one. They must recognize competing interests but still enable voices to be heard and, at the same time, seek ways of building mutual understandings and cooperation. The challenge for community education is considerable. This book provides a real sense of the possibilities. The book is an established text used in teacher training courses throughout the UK.

Excerpt

If you want flowers you must have flowers, roots and all, unless
you are satisfied with flowers made of paper and tinsel. And if
you want education you must not cut it off from the social
interests in which it has its living and perennial sources.
(Tawney, 1926, p. 22)

In Scotland community education, referred to in policy documents as community learning and development since 2003, is provided both through a variety of local authority departments and a range of voluntary organisations and includes work with young people, community based learning, popular adult education and community work. Community education as now practised was not established in Scotland until the 1970s as a result of the recommendations of the Alexander Report (SED, 1975). Although it is one of the newest forms of educational development in Scotland, its conceptual origins stem from two much older traditions originating in the early nineteenth century when rapid economic growth and industrial development led to early social reforms (see Crowther, 1999; Shaw, 2003). One of these traditions came from the radical working class organisations that developed popular educational activities through existing networks of support and solidarity that involved acting and educating against the status quo in order to develop ‘knowledge calculated to make you free’ (Johnson, 1988). The other tradition is derived from the philanthropic provision of adult education, community work and youth work for poor, working-class people, largely organised by Christian religious bodies, in order to help alleviate their problems, ‘strengthen character, encourage independence and preserve the family’ (Shaw, 2003, p. 10). These different assumptions about the purpose, role and focus of the work derived from these traditions are still present in community education today. The first, radical, tradition within community education is committed to progressive social and political change and attempts, wherever possible, to forge a direct link between education and social action. The second, reformist, tradition leads to a community education that has a more top-down approach that is concerned to solve the . . .

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