Labour Education as Adult Education: Linking the CASAE Experience as Theory and Practice
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Labour Education as Adult Education: Linking the CASAE Experience as Theory and Practice It has been suggested that over the next eighteen months CASAE members review the 30 years of CASAE existence and as part of that process some papers looking at specific aspects should be prepared for a special issue of the Journal. The purpose of this presentation is to start on that process and provide an outline of the last 20 years of Labour Education related presentations at CASAE conferences, together with other CASAE-related experience, and to invite others to contribute to this attempt to document this aspect of CASAE practice and link it to adult and labour education theory. The end result could be a jointly written paper for the CASAE Journal special issue. Twenty years has been chosen as a key time frame for this paper as it coincides with my own connection with CASAE and because prior to 1989 there is not much evidence that there was much interest in workers’/labour/union education within CASAE. The conference presentation will allow for that assertion to be challenged, it will allow for others to argue for inclusion of other related papers and work in the field by CASAE members to be considered. Although this proposal can be understood as beginning as a survey, based on literature and experience, the paper will attempt to theorize this experience and to cross the boundaries identified in the call for papers “empirical research, model or theory development, or theorizing from the literature.” Firstly there will be a search of CASAE conference presentations, publications in the field (in the CASAE journal and other related adult education journals), books and reports by CASAE members and related scholars. Secondly there will be an attempt to explain this lack of interest by adult education scholars in this prime example of adult education practice. Finally there will be an attempt to understand labour education as adult education and to link it critically with other related areas of adult education scholarship. The literature survey and conference paper will be completed in time for inclusion in the proceedings. Themes for exploration * From workers’ education to labour education and labour education’s role within the “great tradition” of liberal adult education. * Labour as a social movement, and social purpose adult/labour education. * The purposes of “tools, issues, and labour studies courses” and of other programs in basic adult education and vocational training offered by unions. * Informal union learning. * Why labour education/learning has passed by many adult educators. * Union learning within an understanding of workplace learning and the learning organization rhetoric. * Concluding CASAE contributions to labour education as adult education.