Adult Education and the ‘Pedagogy of the Oppressed’: Vulnerability, Resilience, and Lifelong Learning

The specific objectives of adult education in Spain consist of developing programs and courses related to specific educational needs for excluded groups, as well as to develop people’s capacity to participate in social, cultural and political events within the paradigm of lifelong learning. However, what the following paper intends to claim is that the solution is not to integrate them or make them fit in the structure that oppresses them. What is required is to offer them a critical and reflexive education, and a pedagogy which liberates them to understand the nature of their oppression and act upon their vulnerability so as to transform it.

Adult education environments might potentially become unique spaces for social encounters and transformation, where a wide range of diversity of people build a network of effects by deluding the privilege-oppression matrixes and by raising awareness of alternative understandings of interdependence, by means of service-learning and active participation of its members, within the learning community. Our discussion will stem from a brief genealogy of adult education in Catalonia, to analyse the demands and challenges of the pedagogy of the oppressed of the 21st century within the framework of adult education. In order to do so, this paper will take CFA Rius i Taulet School for Adults as an example of an attempt to generate learning contexts which work towards a progressive social change.

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