Welcome to our guest blogger, Jim Stauffer. Jim is an adult educator in Whatı̀.
As I contemplated Adult Learners’ Week this year, I recalled some of my own failures and successes at fulfilling the trust adult learners place in me when they come to the Community Learning Centre.
Once again the writing of revolutionary educator, Ivan Illich,* came to my mind. He accused schools of teaching students to “confuse the process and substance” of education. To paraphrase him, we fail to distinguish between taking a course and being a learner.
We often assume that everyone who attends school, at least an adult who chooses to do so willingly, goes there to learn. I'd like to point out that some people, especially adults, choose to go to school because they want to take a course.
Both are good and valid reasons to enrol in school; they might even happily overlap. But we get into all sorts of trouble, both as students and as educators, if we assume they are the same thing. So here is my only-partially-tongue-in-cheek, not-totally-objective, and in-no-particular-order guide to help us figure out the difference.
*Illich, I. 1971. Deschooling Society. New York: Harper & Row
-- Jim Stauffer
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