14 SES 06 A, Multidisciplinary Approaches to Learning in and from Urban Spaces: Place-Based Methodologies - Part 3
Typically a neglected topic in Germany, “inclusive adult education” has been placed at the top of the political agenda following the 2009 ratification of the UN Convention on the Right of Persons with Disabilities (United Nations, 2006). The convention makes it mandatory – for most European regions – to remove barriers of all kinds in order to ensure full and equal participation for all learners. A profound institutional reorganization of public adult education centers is taking place in the name of “easy access” (see also: Booth & Ainscow, 2002). Yet, are barriers for adult learners really being removed, merely being shifted, or even being reproduced? The results and particular challenges of the following methodological pathways are up for discussion: The relational concept of space formulated by Löw (2001), one of the most influential German language sociological works of recent years, serves as an analytical framework. It enables analysis of the powerful interrelatedness of material, social, and symbolic dimensions of space and illuminates the current contested terrain between two spatial structures: “segregation” and “inclusion”. It is combined with an emerging adult education discourse on how to render a place of learning an individual learning place (e.g. Kraus, 2010), and with the critical discourse on dis/ability (Campbell, 2009). Empirical findings draw on a document analysis of an urban adult education center (Hamburg) in its attempts to reorganize the regular study program into inclusive courses, and, on expert interviews (n=7) with representatives from academia and institutional stakeholders. The results suggest that exclusive learning formats are not redundant; however, individual needs and requirements must be the focus of attention and are to be met by an adequate learning setting – one that prefers specific didactical-methodical formats (“take your time to learn”) to courses classified by social categories (migration background, disability etc.).
- Booth, T. & Ainscow, M. (2002). Index for inclusion. http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/docs/Index%20English.pdf - Campbell, F.K. (2009). Contours of Ableism. The Production of Disability and Abledness. New York: Palgrave Macmillan. - Kraus, K. (2010). Aneignung von Lernorten in der Erwachsenenbildung. REPORT Zeitschrift für Weiterbildungsforschung (2), 46-55. - Löw, M. (2001). Raumsoziologie. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt a.M. - United Nations. (2006). Conventions on the rights of persons with disabilities. www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml
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