Adult education as professional practice

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The thesis will establish, through philosophical argument, particularly in philosophical psychology, that professional practitioners in adult education are those who see themselves (and indeed are also seen) as agents of the integration of (a) adults' learning from their experiences (the authenticity aspect), with (b) the values of 'education' (the integrity aspect). That is, such practitioners employ 'know how' to bring such integration about, and they may ideally exemplify a kind of wisdom in 'knowing why' they act as they do. We will call this the 'integrationist' model of adult education practice. This integrationist thesis, drawing mainly upon Wittgenstein, Kant and Aristotle: * takes the very phenomenon of the practices of adult educators as its starting point, rather than analyse concepts or language per se, and treats ethical and epistemological dimensions of this practice as interwined and equally central in such phenomena; * requires extensive treatment of the formation of the 'appropriateness' or efficacy of the ethical and epistemological ingredients of professional practice, and subsumes this 'know how' in the significance of sociocultural location; * assumes such people are still 'students' in the broad sense that they are integratively learning from their practical experience and that socio-culturally located workplaces provide the most significant context for their practice (intentionality and competence are especially addressed); * re-examines the emphasis in adult education on the role of experience and the self, and accordingly revitalises a constructivist approach more firmly based in ontological considerations; * accordingly, moves beyond an atomistic conception of professional competence and the sovereignty of the agency of the individual practitioner, * develops an emphasis on teleological considerations - adding 'knowing why' to a more holistic 'know how' and, in that sense, signals a retrieval of the notion of 'vocation', with an orientation towards the attainment of the 'rightness' of practical wisdom (phronesis) as the purpose of adult education as professional practice. Integrationism is thus also constructivist: professionals in any field are expected to make a positive difference. There are general features of the analysis pertinent to any practice where adults' circumstances are up for amelioration.
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