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Psychosocial Perspectives on Adult Learning
The Societal Unconscious presents an innovative development of theory and methodology for adult education and learning research, recognizing psychodynamic dimensions of learning processes. With few exceptions the unconscious has been neglected in critical adult education research. The psychosocial approach in this book seeks to re-integrate the societal and the psychodynamic dimensions in analyzing adult learners and learning processes.

The book responds to contemporary awareness of the societal and cultural nature of subjectivity with a new material and dialectic psychosocial theory, comprising conscious as well as unconscious levels. Tracing interdisciplinary inspirations it sets a new broad horizon for in-depth understanding of learning in everyday life.

A number of empirical analyses demonstrate the entanglement of societal and psychodynamic dimensions of learning. Firstly, a part of the chapters deals with the complex subjective continuities and discontinuities in individual learning and career. Secondly, other chapters comprise analyses of leadership and the social psychology of organizational processes, and the psycho-social aspects of institutional regeneration. Thirdly, the book presents outlooks into the social psychology dimensions of wider societal and political processes, including "identity politics" and xenophobia. A last chapter finalizes the theoretical basis of the methodology.
Academic Writing Partnerships, Groups, and Retreats
Editors: Nicola Simmons and Ann Singh
Writing comprises a significant proportion of academic staff members’ roles. While academics have been acculturated to the notion of ‘publish or perish,’ they often struggle to find the time to accomplish writing papers and tend to work alone. The result can be a sense of significant stress and isolation around the writing process. Writing partnerships, groups, and retreats help mitigate these challenges and provide significant positive writing experiences for their members.

Critical Collaborative Communities describes diverse examples of partnerships from writing regularly with one or two colleagues to larger groups that meet for a single day, regular writing meetings, or a retreat over several days. While these approaches bring mutual support for members, each is not without its respective challenges. Each chapter outlines an approach to writing partnerships and interrogates its strengths and limitations as well as proposes recommendations for others hoping to implement the practice. Authors in this volume describe how they have built significant trusting relationships that have helped avoid isolation and have led to their self-authorship as academic writers.
Weaving New Connections
The inspiration for this book arose out of a large international conference: the ninth World Environmental Education Congress (WEEC) organized under the theme of Culture/Environment. Similarly, the theme for this book focuses on the Culture/Environment nexus. The book is divided into two parts: Part 1 consists of a series of research studies from an eclectic selection of researchers from all corners of the globe. Part 2 consists of a series of case studies of practice selected from a wide diversity of K-Postsecondary educators. The intent behind these selections is to augment and highlight the diversity of both cultural method and cultural voice in our descriptions of environmental education practice. The chapters focus on a multi-disciplinary view of Environmental Education with a developing view that Culture and Environment may be inseparable and arise from and within each other. Cultural change is also a necessary condition, and a requirement, to rebuild and reinvent our relationship with nature and to live more sustainably. The chapters address the spirit of supporting our praxis, and are therefore directed towards both an educator and researcher audience. Each chapter describes original research or curriculum development work.
This book explores the generative power of vulnerabilities facing individuals who inhabit educational spaces. We argue that vulnerability can be an asset in developing understandings of others, and in interrogating the self. Explorations of vulnerability offer a path to building empathy and creating engaged generosity within a community of dissensus. This kind of self-examination is essential in a selfie society in which democratic participation often devolves into neoliberal silos of discourse and marginalization of others who look, think, and believe differently.
By vulnerability we mean the experiences that have the potential to compromise our livelihood, beliefs, values, emotional and mental states, sense of self-worth, and positioning within the Habermasian system/lifeworld as teachers and learners. We can refer to this as microvulnerability—that is, those things humans encounter in daily life that make us aware of the illusion of control. The selfie becomes an analogy for the posturing of a particular self that reinforces how one hopes to be understood by others.
What are the vulnerabilities teachers and learners face? And how can we joker, as Norris calls it, the various vulnerabilities that we inherently bring into teaching and learning spaces? In light of the divisive discourses around the politics of Ferguson, Charlie Hebdo, ISIS, Ebola, Surveillance, and Immigration; vulnerability offers an entry way into exhuming the humanity necessary for a participatory democracy that is often hijacked by a selfie mentality.
Researching Transformative Learning in Fiction
Lawrence and Cranton present a unique research methodology involving fictional characters as research participants. Transformative learning themes are identified through a content analysis of six contemporary novels. The characters from these novels are invited to come to a virtual space, the Butterfly Café where they engage in a series of dialogues on the research themes related to their transformative learning experiences. Each of the dialogues is followed by a debriefing session to deepen the understanding of the original themes.
Readers are given a window into Lawrence and Cranton’s analysis and interpretive process as they engage in dialogue with Celie from the Color Purple, Macon from Accidental Tourist, Mariam and Laila from A Thousand Splendid Suns, and others. The dialogues become a story within the stories told in the novels.
The end product is the introduction of a new model of transformative learning based on a metaphor of planting, cultivating, and growing seeds. Central to the model is becoming conscious, a process that appeared in each of the novels.
Readers will find insights into transformative learning that are outside of the standard academic treatment of the topic. Moving the research into the realm of fiction provides the opportunity for a creative exploration of transformative learning. Yet, since fiction inevitably mirrors reality, readers will be able to relate the analysis, the dialogues, and the ensuing model to their own lives and to their adult education practice.