Transformative Learning in Postapartheid South Africa: Disruption, Dilemma, and Direction

The catalyst for learning and change in transformative learning theory has mostly been explained in terms of a disorientation in a relatively stable life. This article explores a South African, nonformal adult learning program, as a source of orienting dilemmas, which catalyze learning and change in lives that are regularly and repeatedly disrupted, such that disorientation has become normalized. The article opens a conversation about transformative learning theory in a postapartheid South African context, marked by high levels of violence, poverty, and inequality. It thus responds to critiques of the dominance of Western cultural values and lives in transformative learning theory literature and contributes to the theory in Southern, developing contexts, with greater recognition of the significance of context. The article shows how an early life of repeated disruption and difficulty can be transformed through emancipatory education initiatives. Such programs can introduce orienting dilemmas, which catalyze transformative learning.

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Conscientization and Third Space: A Case Study of Tunisian Activism

This case study examines, Al Bawsala, a nongovernmental organization and a female cyber social activist, Amira Yahyaoui, in the aftermath of Tunisia’s Jasmine Revolution through the lens of adult education. The theoretical frameworks of conscientization and third space are employed to describe Yahyaoui’s development of the watchdog political organization, Al Bawsala, for the purpose of democratic learning and popular education in Tunisia. Through interviews with Yahyaoui as well as content analysis of social media platforms used by Al Bawsala, the findings suggest popular education praxis of conscientization and third space are operative and central to Tunisia’s relatively nonviolent path toward democratization after the Arab Spring. The authors further suggest that Al Bawsala’s work is one approach for moving forward in a postrevolution context, and that adult education is central to that process.

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Full-Time Instructional Staffing and Outcomes of Advanced Adult Learners

Two core adult education outcomes for advanced adult learners in U.S. states under the National Reporting System are learning gains in adult secondary education and entry into postsecondary education (PSE). Advanced learner outcomes are associated with key functions in an adult education programming framework, as well as with adequate instructional staff time, location, or exposure to quality services. In this article, the trend in the relationship of instructional staffing patterns with both outcomes from 2006-2007 to 2011-2012 is examined. With fewer adult secondary learners and rising exposure, outcomes fluctuated. Profile analysis revealed that states with more full-time instructional staff had increasing amounts of PSE enrollment during the 6-year period. Moreover, the positive relationship of full-time instructional staffing with PSE entry appears to have gained strength from 2009-2010 onward. Implications of findings for adult educators and recommendations for future research are discussed.

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Developmental Diversity in the Academic Language-Learning Experiences of Adult English as a Second or Other Language Learners: A Constructive-Developmental Study

Academic language is a challenging yet increasingly important skill for Adult Basic Education/English as a Second or Other Language learners. Related to academic language learning is an adult’s developmental perspective. Developmental perspectives have been shown to vary in adulthood and shape qualitatively distinct ways of reasoning and learning experiences. Using Kegan’s constructive-developmental theory, which derives from Western psychology but has been implemented cross-culturally, this qualitative case study explores the academic language–learning experiences of nine Adult Basic Education/English as a Second or Other Language learners. The data include 18 semistructured qualitative interviews and class observations. Analysis includes the dual lenses of grounded theory and constructive-developmental theory. Findings suggest that developmental perspectives made a qualitative difference in how learners experienced academic language learning. Notably, “instrumental” learners described what looks like struggle, but from their developmental perspectives, represents a logical pathway toward success. Learners transitioning toward “self-authoring” brought unique learning agendas and capacities for self-monitoring.

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(Re)defining the Narrative: High-Achieving Nontraditional Black Male Undergraduates at a Historically Black College and University

Using Harper’s anti-deficit achievement framework as a theoretical guide, the purpose of this phenomenological study was to investigate the academic and social experiences of four nontraditional, high-achieving, Black male undergraduates attending one historically Black university. Findings show that the participants were intrinsically motivated to succeed in college to make a better future for themselves and their families. Support from their peers, family, and children also played a role in their success. Last, the university cultivated a campus environment that affirmed the participants’ identities as Black males and nontraditional students. These findings present a counternarrative to deficit-oriented research about Black males generally and nontraditional Black male collegians specifically.

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