Adult Education Academy

Prof. Dr. Silke Schreiber-Barsch

What excites you about adult learning and education?   

"To contribute towards opening up and making possible lifelong and lifewide choices, pathways and bridges back and forth, across and beyond each adult's lifelong learning biography! To be able to benefit from such lifelong learning infrastructures is, for sure, not something to be taken for granted. Therefore, as adult educators, we are asked to take this responsibility for ensuring the necessary societal and political framework, the professional background for becoming an adult educator and for an on-going development of the professional expertise, for giving guidance to institutions and organizations within the landscape of infrastructures as well as for empowering and guiding adult learners through their learning biography. "

Why did you choose to do research in the field of adult learning and education?

"Learning is always deeply embedded in both, knowledge and experience from practice AND research. Taking this into account, I have always been intrigued by taking the existing body of knowledge not as granted, but by testing its limits and premises, by comparing diverse perspectives, by arguing in line with the German concept of Bildung in its wide, reflective and democracy-founded sense, and by finding not yet existing or different answers to questions of lifelong learning."

Silke Schreiber-Barsch, PhD., is Professor in Adult Education at the University of Duisburg-Essen, Germany. Moreover, she has been appointed as Research Associate at the Centre for Higher and Adult Education, Stellenbosch University, South Africa.

  • international and comparative adult education,
  • lifelong learning
  • issues of participation and social inclusion / exclusion
  • global citizenship education and sustainability
  • adult education and disability

CG9: Adult learning and education for all?! Issues of inclusion with regard to disability in the limelight. 

Co-Moderator: Lukas Eble

The ideology of social inclusion is one of the major leitmotifs of adult education, claiming to provide education for all—and especially for some across adult education’s histories worldwide. However, in particular since the mid-2000s, due to the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (2006), for example, inclusion as a terminology and conceptual approach has increasingly been used to focus on the context of disability and impairment. This has strongly intensified the quest for better access to adult learning and education (ALE). Yet, what learning means in the context of disability/impairment, how it is framed in a nation-state architecture and in ALE institutional settings, and how it is experienced in a certain geographical place and at a given time are very likely to vary.

Taking this as a point of departure, the comparative group will elaborate commonalities and differences of ALE access. Disability/impairment will serve as the main lens of analysis; nonetheless, intersections with other categories will also be considered according to the multi-layered features of inclusive adult education (Schreiber-Barsch & Rule 2021, 553). Whereas students are welcome to focus their analysis on the micro-level of ALE access, practitioners enrich the comparative group with their unique knowledge and experience with regard to the meso-level of institutional settings and strategies of access. 

The outcome will be a deeper understanding of the buzzword inclusion, greater expertise in analysing the multi-dimensional concept of inclusive adult education through a comparative lens, and extended experience with strategies of institutional accessibility.



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