Mark Federman is posting an interesting series of reflections as part of a PhD seminar on “The Political Economy of Adult Education.” The reflections are in response to a paper written by Ian Baptiste and Tom Hearney titled The Political Construction of Adult Education. The paper provides a fascinating dialogue in which Baptiste and Heaney respond to a series of questions about the nature of the adult education. Baptist is Professor in Charge of the Adult Education Program at Penn State and Heaney is head of the adult education doctoral program at National Louis University.

The questions are far reaching:

  1. Do you refer to yourself as “an adult educator”?
  2. What are the distinctive practices, institutions, organizations, purposes and predecessors of the enterprise you call adult education?
  3. Increasingly “adult learning” is being substituted for “adult education.” What do you make of this substitution?
  4. If can be reasonably argued that the enterprise you described above will continue, whether or not the label “adult education” remains. Provide a rationale for continued use of the label or propose a more desirable alternative.

There’s lots in both the original paper and in Federman’s reflections that bear on some of the questions that we are addressing in various ways in this class.