Learning for a Better World

European adult educators converged on Cardiff in April to help to shape the future.

NIACE did a great job at kicking off a debate across the UK which will help to formulate the future adult learning policy for Europe Commission.

The discussion seems framed at the moment to cover these areas (but who knows where else it will lead!):

Measuring the social and economic value
Great store being placed on SROI (Social Return On Investment) methods – let’s see if it convinces the hard-nosed skeptics in the Teasury. look out for Baroness Margaret Sharp speaking up for this in the video.

Adult learning and local democracy
No one spoke against democracy, so it must be something we all love and value?

Well…. I am not so sure we were always talking about the same things when we used the D word.  A clear re statement of the values and practices we see adult learning as helping to build might be a help.

Basic Skills

When  will this ever get sorted! Surely it is just too bad that we are still talking about large numbers of adults leaving school with poor basic skills. They so often have talent and ability as so many of those Adult learners week second chance stories prove.

Motivation to learn
Don’t we just play this one backwards and forwards all the time between intrinsic and extrinsic reasons for learning. Incentives of job opportunities surely play some part but frankly people jumping through hoops to catch certificates may not become the innovative creative thinkers we need.   Learning may be hard work, but it only really works when it is fed by curiosity. Learners should be praised for the questions they ask rather that for the questions they answer!

Check the video for Shirley who totally went ‘off piste’ in her reportage session to share her passion for learning new-found power to devise her own learning strategy (on the dart board as it happens)

Self Organised Learning and Community Trusts 
It was interesting to learn from the pilot CLTs in England – but this was a European event. People talked partnerships and Pascal from Portugal gave a passionate description of a self-help group set up in the crypt of a church. He is the one with the waving arms and bouncing hair on the film.

Employability Skills for young adults
Well on this one I nearly fell out ‘big time’ with a delegate from Luxembourg!  She was dead against the recognition of generic employability skills and thought teachers should stick to vocationally related competences only! I just couldn’t see why she was so set on this – and then it twigged. She did not trust teachers to make assessment judgments on the personal qualities of learners (punctuality, appearance, team works etc)  Ahhh – I then understood her opposition. However, it was based on assessement being hard not on the teaching of this being unimportant. Let’s remember not to value only what we can measure!!

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One Response to “Learning for a Better World”

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