Learning beyond words.The impact of second language adult education on migrants' social involvement: a comparison between Scotland and Greece.
PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.
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Education, and adult education in particular, has been historically related to issues of citizenship, and social inclusion, and this study embraces the adult education discourse of citizenship, in which the learner is viewed as a social actor and education as a key process to claiming and re-defining membership in society.
The study, drawing from research on eight second language classes in Glasgow and Athens, where in-depth, semi-structured interviews with both tutors and students were conducted, takes a Critical Social Research approach. It concentrates on the ways in which the second language classes can be a catalyst for migrants’ social involvement. Furthermore, it explores the impact of pedagogic traditions and socio-political factors on the outcomes of the educational experience. These classes took place within diverse organisations, which consisted of a Further Education college, a single-ethnic group community centre, a charity organisation and a migrants’ campaign organisation in each country respectively. The use of comparison between Glasgow and Athens is an interesting one, since there is a similar recent experience of sudden demographic change, but different political cultures and adult education traditions.
The findings of the study make a contribution both in relation to the ways in which educators can endorse socio-political involvement and in relation to the wider cultural influences on pedagogy. It is, thus, shown that students’ social participation largely depends on the educators’ utilization of non-formal methodologies, extra curricular activities and, most importantly, their willingness to broaden the scope of the curriculum. Furthermore, it is demonstrated how the established educational culture in a country has an overarching impact on the educators; perception of their role and their pedagogical approaches.
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