A Proposed Historiography of Adult Education.Report as inadecuate

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Current histories of adult education trace it back to the early part of the 20th century. They share several assumptions: (1) modern adult education started early in this century; (2) antecedents go back to early European colonization of North America--but ignore Spanish colonizers; (3) the movement is exclusively Eurocentric, seeing no influence from thousands of years of adult education practices in Asia or Africa; (4) the movement is exclusively male; and (5) adult education is modern--human beings have gone from savage to civilized in a slow process of evolution. Adult education needs to become postmodern, claiming a vast historical terrain in Africa, Asia, and the Americas, honoring egalitarianism, community empowerment, cultural and linguistic diversity, and multiple approaches to knowing. Educational history, like all knowledge, cannot be observed neutrally; to observe it is to change it because the observer's beliefs influence the observation. Today, the adult education movement is at a crossroads in the United States. It will mean rethinking about definitions, purposes, and ends/means. The result will be a brighter path to the future and a clearer story of the past. (Contains 13 references.) (KC)

Descriptors: Adult Education, Continuing Education, Educational Change, Educational History, Educational Needs, Educational Philosophy, Educational Practices, Educational Trends, Futures (of Society), Historiography, Modernism, Postmodernism, Role of Education

Author: Smith, Glenn

Source: https://eric.ed.gov/?q=a&ft=on&ff1=dtySince_1992&pg=8007&id=ED401421

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