Tensions Between Practice and Praxis in Academia: Adult Education, Neoliberalism, Professional Training, and Militarism
In education, there is a tension between exploring practice (focusing on the practicalities of an educator's daily work) and critical praxis (problematizing positionality as relates to pedagogies and engaging in a societal critique). I do not set this up as a duality, a dichotomy, or a continuum, but as a skewed Venn diagram, where there is a pull between foci as a result of educational paradigms and intersecting forces such as neoliberalism, corporatism, commodification of learning, and even militarism. These pressures have fueled an emphasis on practice and measurement, frequently at the expense of exploration and analysis, with particular implications for the field of adult education. In this article, I build on my own experiences as an advocate of adult education in an exploration of how education/learning is often framed in faculties of education and post-secondary institutions; the challenges and opportunities of merging adult education (and graduate and undergraduate courses) with other programs in faculties of education; and, the educational and societal implications of these framings and changes.
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