Wounded Learners Failed by Schooling: Symbolic Violence and Re-Engaging Low Income Adults
Keywords:wounded learners, symbolic violence, low income adults, marginalized learners, dreamkeeping, learning identities, community-based adult education
Using exploratory case study to assess the learning needs of low income populations in a Canadian city, one key finding was that the majority are wounded learners from their experiences in the schooling system. Compounded by various social and economic factors, these wounds represent various forms of violence, particularly symbolic violence that continually reproduces their marginality. Community adult educators have the opportunity to offer recognition of wounding and help learners re-story positive learning identities, rebuild learning capacities as well as social and intellectual capital, and transform a limiting habitus. Through a dialectic of indignation and “dreamkeeping”, they can both also assist learners in challenging meritocratic systems that require woundedness and failure rather than capability as a form of educational justice and create spaces for hope for learners who still dream of serving others and contributing back to their communities.
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