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Panel 3 Christine O' Hanlon


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“Reader” en Educación, Facultad de Educación y Aprendizaje Durante Toda la Vida, Universidad de East Anglia.

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Panel 3 Christine O' Hanlon

  1. 1. Extending Social Capital and the Common Good through Inclusion and Widening Participation: Lifelong learning as a Participatory Process. Christine O ’ Hanlon (Dr) Honorary Reader in Education University of East Anglia UK
  2. 2. <ul><li>Abstract </li></ul><ul><li>The paper sets the scene for more educational inclusion and participation for minority communities in schooling and its’ effects on lifelong learning. Education develops citizens’ capabilities as autonomous learners for the globalised 21 st century. It is through examining the meanings of common good and social capital that we deliberate as citizens engaging in democratic argument, reflecting critically on our schools, questioning them, challenging them, or improving them. Social capital is neither intrinsically positive, or intrinsically negative, because any particular form of social capital will have simultaneous benefits and disadvantages, the balance of which will vary from context to context. The negative effects of social capital on minority communities can be reversed by education programmes aimed at offering positive and lasting attitudes for success. However, much of the existing rhetoric denies the fact that people are embedded in cultures and communities. It is only through participation in educational networks from early years, the inclusion of minority cultures in curricula, the encouragement of debate, and negotiated planned action, which involves the voices of students, teachers, parents and the wider community, that we can hope to produce more autonomous and lifelong learners. </li></ul><ul><li>  </li></ul>
  3. 3. <ul><li>In both the UK and Colombia we accept that schooling should be available and free for all between 5-16 years. Schools are essential for preparing young people for the society they will inhabit, to allow them to become autonomous learners and to acquire a sense of belonging and identity . However, today in the 21 st century young people also need to be prepared for a global identity in an international world and to take their place beyond their own country. </li></ul>
  4. 4. <ul><li>Access to schooling however is a critical issue. We need to distinguish the term ‘ schooling ’ from ‘ education ’ . Schooling refers to a formal process of school certification whereas education develops citizens ’ capabilities as autonomous learners. Education develops learners as critical citizens capable of understanding and making an argument about what is best for themselves, and others, embracing differences, diverse values, attitudes and life aims. </li></ul><ul><li>Lifelong learning is both a school, and an educational process, with different outcomes certified or otherwise. Schooling produces certified citizens, whereas education produces mature citizens capable of self – directed and autonomous learning. </li></ul>
  5. 5. <ul><li>The concept of the ‘common good’ has its’ origins in Aristotle’s Politics (Barnes 1984). Aristotle maintains that the common good could prolong a city state if it was clearly a government priority. No discussion on educational inclusion or the wider participation of minority communities in education could be considered to be apolitical or neutral, it is clearly a political debate. </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>To be more like education the focus of schools should be adaptation to a changing society, with a dynamic dialectic about the possibilities of schooling and the moral agency of its citizens. This is a focus we have lost sight of in the US and the UK. A return to moral agendas for the common good is conceived of as ‘ capability ’ to choose a way of life one values and has reason to value (Sen 1992). </li></ul><ul><li>As people develop capabilities for autonomous learning they become lifelong learners. Autonomy lies in the development of capability to choose a way of life. </li></ul>
  7. 7. <ul><li>Minority individuals or groups are expected to join the existing national school systems and to adjust to them, no matter how inappropriate they may be to meet their future life aims, and not the other way around (O’Hanlon 2003). It is a system that cultivates human capital viewed as knowledge and skills required by the job market. </li></ul>
  8. 8. <ul><li>Social factors and capabilities in education </li></ul><ul><li>Every successful movement or social reform, like the inclusion of minority communities or widening educational participation, has done more than change the law as happened in the UK. It has also changed attitudes and dispositions which are so often taken for granted (O ’ Hanlon 2003). </li></ul><ul><li>People from poorer families, with lower incomes, the unemployed or economically inactive, people with lower literacy skills or with negative attitudes to institutional learning, are all less likely than average to participate in any formal education or training after the age of 16. </li></ul>
  9. 9. <ul><li>It has also been argued that inequalities of ‘capability’ matter as much as inequalities of income and wealth. Sen's concept of ' capability ', argues that governments should be measured against the concrete capabilities of their citizens. Sen asks the question ‘is a 'right' something that must be provided or something that simply cannot be taken away? Is education or lifelong learning a right? It is up to each society to make the list of minimum capabilities guaranteed by that society. Great inequality is the scourge of modern societies. </li></ul>
  10. 10. <ul><li>As inequality deepens, rich and poor live increasingly separate lives. The affluent send their children to private schools in wealthy suburbs, leaving urban public schools to the families who have no choice. The emptying of public life makes it difficult to cultivate a sense of community that democratic citizenship requires (Sandel 2009). </li></ul>
  11. 11. <ul><li>Social capital is accumulated through social networks throughout life, and can be defined as an asset attained through membership of one or more communities. It is a concept that draws attention to the importance of social relationships and values such as trust in shaping broader attitudes and behaviour (Schuller et al 2000). </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>Social capital, is neither intrinsically positive, or intrinsically negative, because any particular form of social capital will have simultaneous benefits and disadvantages, the balance of which will vary from context to context (Woolcock 1998). </li></ul><ul><li>This argument is developed through the notion of balancing ‘embeddedness’ and ‘autonomy’ in social relationships (Szreter 2000). </li></ul>
  13. 13. <ul><li>Controversy surrounds the concept of social capital because, the extension of social networks in communities can be seen as beneficial, if they are helping people to move upwards in the social chain, or to secure benefits through membership of school and social networks. </li></ul><ul><li>-in Britain the prison population has doubled since 1990; in America it has quadrupled since the late 1970s (Wilkinson R & Picket K 2009). </li></ul>
  14. 14. <ul><li>Can education transform the negative effects of economically disadvantaged social networks? </li></ul><ul><li>Certain common characteristics of good practices for increasing participation in lifelong learning can be identified and include: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Educational programs for low-income boys in particular, begin in pre-school and are sustained over time, through middle and high school . </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Successful programs include families, schools and communities , thereby providing a ‘ web ’ of support and protection around children. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Successful programs focus both on individual development and on teaching children the social and cultural skills they need to successfully find their way within their schools and communities. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><li>Similar research identifies three vital components for educational strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>These include: </li></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Young people must have clear and consistent opportunities for active participation in their families, schools and communities. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Young people must have the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to succeed when provided with these opportunities. </li></ul></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><ul><li>ァ  Young people need consistent outside, positive recognition and reinforcement for their efforts and accomplishments (Social Development Research Group of Seattle (SDRG). </li></ul></ul></ul></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>The rhetoric of lifelong learning, capability building and social capital is ambiguous, and denies the way people are embedded in cultures and communities. </li></ul><ul><li>The common good develops through participatory and inclusive education and is the responsibility of every citizen. </li></ul>