Newer Approaches in Social Issues
The adult learning process has undergone several transitions from the historical discourse statistics. This paper presents sociocultural perspectives alongside critical theories affecting adult learning in contemporary society. The first part addresses the essential implication of race theory in adult education. The second part discusses gender socialization with a close look and discussion on feminist theory. The third part addresses privilege existing based on gender concerning the film. The fourth part accesses the essential critical theory considered as challenging for adults. The fifth part addresses the importance of postmodernism in education and society. The six-section uses a caption to describe the learning theories with a selection of appropriate context in the image. The final part addresses the selected learning theory challenges for the caption.
The critical theories on sociocultural perspectives have favored the predominant orientation of specific individual learners in a particular society (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). In this aspect, the interactive context of learners is influenced by the social structure by the majority and superiority of social factors such as race, gender, and class among others in society. The critical Race theory was developed to limit the application of racism in adult transformative learning for decades (Closson, 2010). The USA has spearheaded the role in enhancing cultural diversity in education. Despite the diversity of the nation, people tend to promote Western Europe values over other values form other communities from different parts of the world (Gozawa, 2009). Education has been a foundation to the adult learning process and a tool to shape children’s view on who matters, what matters, priorities in life and how to interact with others.
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From this learning discourse, one is either empowered or marginalized depending on the backgrounds. For instance, the people may be group depending other their social, economic, and political aspects (Witztum, 2012). In the USA, marginalized groups such as the African Americas, Asian Americans are affected by the cultural mismatch in their learning environment and their historical values (Guy, 1999). On the positive note, adult education helps learners especially from the identified marginalized communities to take full control of their life situations and set goals for good living standards to improve their conditions (Witztum, 2012).
Nevertheless, critical race theory has promoted political rejuvenation that enhances inclusiveness and representation of the marginalized group’s interests. For instance, in the USA President Clinton proposed for the inclusiveness of the African American for a unified nation (Brookfield, 2011). This was a subject of concern in the US Congress which later gave rise to the African American politicians. The inclusivity has been a source of African American empowerment which acts as multicultural inclusivity of the minority groups in the USA (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007).
Gender socialization is said to be the learning of behavior and its course development and process learning whereby individuals socially behave depending on their gender at birth. Precisely, it’s the behavior and attitude attributes of boys learning to be boys and on the other side, girls to be girls (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). Feminist historians have profoundly discovered several thoughts regarding the identity of women alongside empirical evidence of their potentials in society resulting in the historical transition of fixing capabilities among women in society (Scott, 1996). According to Brookfield (2011), feminism is defined as an advocacy woman attempts to liberate themselves and fight for domination of interlocking systems associated with racism, classism, and sexism in the society.
Therefore, my definition of feminism as the recognition of women in the society to have equal rights and abilities as men. Gender socialization has been a profound source to gender stereotyping brought about and has been a platform to the development of feminism theories creating more awareness and light concerning (Merriam, et al., 2007). Brookfield (2011) states that gender differences have given rise to skeptical tension of gender characterization and essentialism of assumptions on capabilities in the society. Scott (1996) ideology further supports this by stating that feminist advocacies have elevated women positions and their skills in society.
Adult education has given rise to various discoveries that enhances empowerment to gender differences. Feminist theory views gender inequality by focusing on female empowerment (Brookfield, 2011). In the 18th century feminist brilliantly championed the operation of the mind to have no attachment to sex. During this period, women demanded citizenship inclusivity and political rights, which gave rise to women in power such as Joan of Arc (Scott, 1996). Precisely feminist orientation addresses issues and roles of women in the society such as their rights that comprises their economic empowerment, sexual, education and voting rights. Feminism theory for several decades has advocated for political and social development, and have advocated movements for gender equality in a society with a close focus on women.
The first historical feminism movement in the early 20th century integrated human rights such as domestic violence, abortion rights, sexual harassment, and workplace rights (Scott, 1996). It has been a platform to the transition to women empowerment since the 20th century to date. From this aspect, adult learning has enabled women to take control of their lives, and has given rise to women in leadership positions translating to women empowerment and recognition of their capabilities (Scott, 1996).
Some of us could agree that privileges do exist based on gender. However, I believe that under some instances, the feminism gets more attention in society. In today’s workplace, men still get more opportunities in the current society but the gap is getting smaller due to the rising feminism waves that fought for equality and protection. Feminism historians have presented several empowerment plans for women seen across the USA and France (Scott, 1996). Organizations have also protect women rights today unlike four decades ago. The video “Trouble with women” revolving around the Aluminum Company of America presents the masculine forming a discriminative ideology concerning the feminism at work (Jaaash, 2009).
Despite the work records by the female workers at the Aluminum Company of America plant, their supervisor does not recognize their capabilities and expresses negative concerns after an official letter concerning new a female worker in his department (Jaaash, 2009). The supervisor raised his concerns whereby the feminism at his section are unprofessional and incompetent to complete their tasks. In this case, the supervisor noted that feminism has a high tendency of absenteeism at work. Secondly, indicated that women are troublesome and set working tables as their dressing place in the workplace. The supervisor forms a discriminatory view and wishes to have men at the plant section. This film directly presents the privileges women are given in the workplace, and they misuse their priority with their activities rather than their professional perspective.
From the observation I had made from the video “Overcoming gender biases in the workplace”, the supervisor disputed his point of view regarding his perception of women at their workplace. Based on the supervisors attitude, this kind of gender biases is unethical practice at work. It is essential to address issues affecting employees regarding competence and professionalism rather than condemning the feminist. The analysis of the critical theories discussed in this mini-paper, race implication is the most demanding crucial theory in adult learning.
I choose race to be the most complicated theory because race segregation, for instance, in the USA there has been an inevitable recognition for adult education. African Americans for several decades have been marginalized with different political movements trying to discover their worth in society (Abrahams, 2016). In this aspect race segregation, for instance, in the USA has been inevitable to recognize in adult education. The African Americans for several decades have been marginalized with different political movements trying to discover their worth in society (Abrahams, 2016). Racism has been conscious expressed by institutions, group of people, and individuals in the community (Brookfield, 2011). For instance, in America, racism has contributed negatively to economic development, and the marginalized groups are over represented in low skills associated with low income and poor living standards for decades (Witztum, 2012).
According to Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007) studies in the U.S. Department of Education survey of 2000 and 2001, 144 to 447 adult educators were of white origin, 22,186 were blacks, 21,337 were Hispanics, and other groups constituted of 10,3932. From these statistics, most of the adult educators consisting of the whites have little interaction with the marginalized groups whereby the statistics indicate a gap in the relationship between the white Hispanic and the minor groups (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007). It has continued to increase led to the discrepancies facing the marginalized groups across the USA. I believe the concept of race and racial segregation will be a matter of concern today and for decades in the USA, Britain, and France (Brookfield, 2011). Adult education will keep on its transition on racial identity with less impact development to address racial inclusiveness due to less participation of other groups in adult education compared to the marginalized members in the USA.
Postmodernism is crucial since it suggests that the world is disjointed with several theories specifying particular insights of a community. The postmodernism education in this aspect attempts to drop the arguments spoken and written without the justifications and worthwhile of issues facing the society (Brookfield, 2011). Thus, postmodernism notion has no single idea regarding reality and truth issues. In this case, postmodernism adult learning attempts to address phenomena across all individuals and setting of the society (Schied, Mulenga & Baptiste, 2005). Besides, postmodernism tends to give views in a broad aspect with two or more contrasting views. Contrasting ideologies are essential in the development of concrete opinion regarding issues revolving around society today.
According to Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007), postmodernism is characterized by the global changes of activities as a result of social, political, and economic factors. Adult education has instrumentally presented the new world order of factors that has led to uncertainties in society. Adult education has spearheaded the reconstruction of sensitive issues facing the community like technological revolution, multi-skills development, and cohesion of multicultural practices in the community. Postmodernism plays a critical role in adult education in realizing the diversity and respect to multicultural practices (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007). Diversity context and multicultural practices come about the interaction of people which is a learning process that enables people from diverse locations to acquire cultural practices from one another.
Therefore, postmodernism has given rise to the inclusiveness of marginalized communities in society and promote ethics tolerances on issues facing society (Gozawa, 2009). Finally, postmodernism encourages individuals to take control of their lives and determine the development of knowledge in the community irrespective of the broad aspects of disciplines (Brookfield, 2011). Learning at this discourse helps individuals realize their social orientations and assist individuals to cope with the challenges on factors and crises facing the society (Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner, 2007).
Learning theories tends to enhance understanding and theorizing of fascinated thinkers such as Plato and Aristotle. Humanist orientation theory considered adult learning by determining the potentials of the learners (Freud et al., 1953). I chose the humanistic orientation theory to reflect a vivid example of the learning process from the image below. The cartoon figure clearly shows that the educators can see the potentials of the learners to be like him in terms of innovation, critical thinkers, and independent. The educator set the cognitive experience and used it to influence the behavior of the learners.
Freud et al. (1953) suggested that the psychological aspects of the learner has a subconscious mind that can easily manipulate specific behavior. The educator tends to influence behavior predetermined by the subconscious of the learners in control of their destiny (Freud et al.,1953). In this aspect, the educator’s goodwill is a foundation of inherent good that translates to a better world. At the discourse of learning, learners are free to act depending on their learning experience on unlimited potentials for creativity, innovation and independent decisions (Merriam, Caffarella & Baumgartner, 2007). Humanistic theory motivates learners to depend on their values and needs about their learning process. The learning goals are the driving forces for learners and usually dependent on their attitude towards issues.
I selected humanistic theory because it symbolizes possible achievement from one of the accomplishments formed by the educator. Besides, in humanistic theory, educators use their potential to influence behavior and attitude to inspire learners to diligently follow their steps in finding meaning out of meaningful life. Therefore, setting an example is a practical essence, and learners will use at their discourse of learning.
Considering the cartoon image, the first challenge concerning adult learning has significantly been affected by a historical discourse on racial segregation whereby the learning process favors the superiority complex (Abrahams, 2016). For instance, in America, educators have little interaction with the marginalized groups such as the African American, Asian America unlike the whites in America. The appropriate course of action in this context is to develop inclusiveness and interaction among educators and learners irrespective of their racial identity.
The second challenge, educators have initiated a specific form of cultural biases with a close focus on western culture without considering the minority groups in society (Gozawa, 2009). It is vital that educators develop inclusiveness in culture in learning experience through interactions to enhance an open community. In most cases, educators usually influence learners without allowing them to address their experience.
Third challenge, adult learning experiences difficult circumstances in the development of social, political, economic challenges in society. For instance, social development poses an awkward moment at the cause of interaction where the learners and the educators cannot involve mutual communication. As Merriam, Caffarella, and Baumgartner (2007) describes, postmodernism programs play a critical role in the realization of the current affairs associate with uncertainties.
Fourth, the humanistic orientation learning process is complicated to evaluate the experience of learners, and this could be a challenge for the educator to determine the learning experience (Freud et al., 1953). Initiating inspirational speeches could either influence the behavior and attitude of the learner, or fail to inspire them during the learning experience. Finally, humanistic orientation learning behavior cannot be a sufficient method to all learners where the learning process may be involved for some of the learners while other learners get the process and are more productive. In this case, the educator needs to understand the capabilities of the learners to enhance the effective learning process. Besides, the educators need to evaluate the learning process and choose the appropriate method to influence learners.
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- Brookfield, S. (2005). The power of critical theory for adult learning and teaching. London, England: Wiley
- Closson, R. (2010). Critical Race Theory and Adult Education. Adult Education Quarterly, 60(3), 261-283. doi: 10.1177/0741713609358445
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- Gozawa, J. (2009). The cultural complex and transformative learning environments. Journal of Transformative Education, 7(2), 114-133. Retrieved from https://journals-sagepub-com.libezp.lib.lsu.edu/doi/pdf/10.1177/1541344610362095
- Guy, T. (1999). Culture as context for adult education: The need for culturally relevant adult education. New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, 1999(82), 5-18. Retrieved from https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.libezp.lib.lsu.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=6&sid=d4aa793c-d69a-4275-a461-ed4a66c998a0%40sessionmgr102
- Merriam, S. B., Caffarella, R. S., & Baumgartner, L. M. (2007). Learning in Adulthood: A comprehensive guide (3rd ed.). Hoboken, NJ: Wiley.
- Jaaash. (2009, December 11). Overcoming gender biases in the workplace. [Video file]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=2&v=CGc0KoudrEA
- Schied, F., Mulenga, D., & Baptiste, I. (2005). Lifelong learning in a global context: Towards a reconceptualization of Adult Education. Adult Education Research Conference. Retrieved from https://newprairiepress.org/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=2699&context=aerc
- Scott, J. W. (1996). Feminism and history. [electronic resource]. Oxford University Press. Retrieved from http://web.a.ebscohost.com.libezp.lib.lsu.edu/ehost/ebookviewer/ebook/b[email protected]sdc-v-sessmgr04&vid=0&format=EB&lpid=lp_III&rid=0
- Witztum, A. (2012). Social dimensions of individualistic rationality. American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 71(2), 377-406. Retrieved from https://eds-b-ebscohost-com.libezp.lib.lsu.edu/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=13&sid=d4aa793c-d69a-4275-a461-ed4a66c998a0%40sessionmgr102
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Newer Approaches in Social Issues. (2021, May 14). Retrieved from https://papersowl.com/examples/newer-approaches-in-social-issues/
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