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Chapt 6 Critical and Post Modern Perspectives on Adult Learning

Chapt 6 Critical and Post Modern Perspectives on Adult Learning

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Published by: Namaste' on Apr 25, 2009
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1Krishna K. BistaPSE 6670: Chapter 6Dr. McNellisMarch 19, 2009
Q.1. In your own words, summarize the critical theory perspective on adult learning. Also,explain whether or not you agree with this theory and why.
Adult learners are practical, goal oriented, autonomous, and self-directed. They focuson the aspects of a lesson most useful to them in their work. Their teachers actively involveadults in the learning process and serve as facilitators for them. Adults have a foundation of life experiences and knowledge that may include work-related activities, familyresponsibilities, and previous education. In this sense, a critical theory of adult educationinvolves conceiving of what education, why and where adults learn.Critical theory on adult learning views learning as a part of social interaction amongindividuals. Critical theorists believe that learning is possible through how people think,what they really need and what best serves their needs in family and society. In other words,they think critically and rationally about the goals of learning and understanding the nature of needs. Critical theorists argue that social structures and institutions—race, ethnicity, caste,language and religion—reinforce adult learners to view and interpret everyday learning as “acommon-sense lens.” They must see a reason for learning something. Learning has to beapplicable to their work or other responsibilities to be of value to them. Critical thinking perspectives on adult learning is very important and relevant because this kind of thinking,according to Kilgore, “challenge what we think we know is true by demonstrating how itserves the interests of certain individuals and groups at the expense of other individuals and
2groups(p.54).” After all, critical theories help adult understand social issues of unemployment, poverty, racism and the rest in thoughtful and reflecting ways.I agree that critical theories are useful sets of working tools for adults to observe andutilize various forms of knowledge in different teaching and learning settings. Besides, acritical theory in adult education helps adults to conceptualize and understand variousfeatures of society likes social stratification, power structure and distribution of power. It alsohelps adult to see what the critical theory projects as a better life and society because it showsadults a way of seeing society, mapping, making connections and engaging into activities.ReferenceKilgore, D. W. (2001). In
The New Update on Adult Learning Theory
, Ed. Sharan, M. SanFrancisco: John Wiley & Sons, pp.53-61.
Q. 2) In your own words, summarize the postmodern perspective on adult learning. Also,explain whether or not you agree with this theory and why.
Postmodern perspective views that knowledge is contextual and there is no universalrule of acquiring knowledge. Postmodernism helps the adults to question the existing formsof learning theories and knowledge. Postmodern theorists, as Kilgore (2001) mentions, “viewknowledge as tentative, multifaceted, and not necessarily rationally connected to anymotivation or interest.” (59) To put in other words, postmodernists believes that there is noabsolute truth. There is no single meaning as final meaning, and no single interpretation asfinal interpretation. Rather, they view as many meanings as ways of understanding the thing,as interpretations as many ways of perceiving the context. There is nothing wrong or right butall as possible ways of getting into the world of learning.Postmodernists (Jacques Derrida, Michel Foucault, Ferdinand de Saussure, Jean-François Lyotard, Richard Rotary, Levis Strauss, etc) have helped adult learners that reality ismore complex and that is formed of our needs and interests. Knowledge has become a product of human interaction with nature, culture and universe. Postmodernism has givenadults a very different perspective to look at existing facts and values in their universe.Further, postmodernism has been a new weapon to challenge, to view, and to deny or toaccept continuity and commonality of the world. Derrida came with ‘Deconstruction’—a toolof perceiving everything through binary oppositions such as black vs. white, birth vs. death,competence vs. performance. Foucault discussed the power hegemony to dissect the existingdiscourse of politics and social formation. Saussure brought a new way of understandinghuman language and communication in terms of signifier and signified whereas Strauss dealtwith fundamental aspects of social structure and post structure anthropologically. Richard

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