Friday, 19 March 2010

Course overview

The goals of this course are:

  • To explore advanced theory and practice of community education and critical social and political analysis with particular reference to equality and inequality;
  • To understand, engage with and develop communities of praxis (skilled and theoretically aware practice) in a critical and reflexive way. Key to this will be creating communities of learning that co-create knowledge between participants and between participants and staff
  • To develop reflexive research skills that will enhance the students’ own practice and to contribute to the communities of praxis in which they work. Here, participants will actively bring case studies in order to gain a theoretical and critical understanding of key issues involved and a conversation space will be created in order to explore the implications of theory and practice.

Three core strands of thinking will be explored in this course –

  1. Critical and praxis-oriented forms of thinking: e.g. critical adult and community education; critical media and cultural pedagogy; knowledge for social change; critical social and political theory; community art; politics of knowledge; media literacy...
  2. Understanding equality and inequality: e.g. in class, gender, race; political economy; development education; feminism and masculinities; environmental justice; the politics of sustainability; world-systems analysis...
  3. Power, politics and praxis: e.g. social movements; community activism; participatory and radical democracy; popular praxis; skills for grassroots organising; history and politics of social change...

The course content is all taught from the standpoint of "praxis": the understanding that theory without practice is meaningless, while practice without theory is likely to fail. The basis of our work is dialogue between reflective practitioners, systematically including both elements.

Courses are taught in lecture and workshop formats delivered by staff as well as in group projects, personal research and seminars facilitated by staff and developed by students. Assessment is by seminar papers, group projects, portfolios, reflexive journals, thesis. In each case these assessments are designed to assess the students' skills at applying their theoretical knowledge in practice and at reflecting critically on their experience.