As ways of making meaning in drama strongly resemble the ways that meanings are made in everyday social life, forms of drama learn from everyday life and, at a societal level, people in everyday life learn from drama. Through history, from the emergence of drama in Western culture, the learning that results at a societal level from the interactions of everyday social life and drama have been noted by scholars. In contemporary culture, electronic and digitized forms of mediation and communication have diversified its content and massively expanded its audiences. Although there are reciprocal relations between everyday life and drama, aspects of everyday life are selected and shaped into the various cultural forms of drama. Processes of selection and shaping crystallize significant aspects of everyday social relations, allowing audiences of and participants in drama to learn and to reflect critically on particular facets of social life. In the 20th century, psychological theories of learning have been developed, taking note of the sociocultural relationships between drama, play, and learning. Learning in and through drama is seen as being socially organized, whole person learning that mobilizes and integrates the bodies and minds of learners. Making signs and meanings through various forms of drama, it is interactive, experiential learning that is semiotically mediated via physical activity. Alongside the various forms of drama that circulate in wider culture, sociocultural theories of learning have also influenced drama pedagogies in schools. In the later part of the 20th century and into the 21st century, drama practices have diversified and been applied as a means of learning in a range of community- and theater-based contexts outside of schooling. Practices in drama education and applied drama and theater, particularly since the late 20th century and into the early 21st century, have been increasingly supported by research employing a range of methods, qualitative, quantitative, and experimental.
The European Commission launched a renewed agenda for adult learning with the objective of ensuring access to high-quality educational opportunities to adult learners for the promotion of their personal and professional development. Thus, European researchers in this field are paying attention to lifelong learning actions in order to address this challenge. Studies in this area are exploring how adult education can strengthen adults’ skills, in particular those required in the current knowledge society (information and communication technologies, problem solving, foreign languages, etc.). Simultaneously, some investigations focus in depth on the role that adult education can play in overcoming social exclusion for the most underserved groups. This paper describes the contributions of these investigations as well as the steps carried out by programs and theories that have contributed the most to adult learning. Lastly, future developments and challenges on this field are explained.
Alfonso Torres Carrillo
Popular Education (PE) is an educational movement and pedagogical current that emerged in Latin America in the seventies. It was a result of Paulo Freire’s pedagogical proposals in a context of radicalization of popular struggle and cultural and intellectual movements. During the past five decades, hundreds of groups, practices and projects have identified themselves as part of the PE movement. As a pedagogical current, PE is understood as an educational perspective and practice, which is critical of institutionalized education and identifies with emancipatory political perspectives. Its purpose is to help populations that experience oppression or discrimination to strengthen their capacity to change their conditions, relationships, practices and ways of thinking and feeling by means of cultural, educational, dialogical, participatory, interactive and expressive practices. With respect to the history of PE in Latin America, its social contexts and educational practices, four stages can be identified:
1. The liberating pedagogy of Paulo Freire at the end of the sixties.
2. The foundational stage PE in the seventies.
3. The re-foundation and expansion of the PE in the eighties and nineties.
4. The reactivation of the EP in the current context.
During these periods, a constant interest in PE has been producing knowledge from and about its contexts, themes and practices. From its origins, it has created and incorporated qualitative research strategies in coherence with its political and epistemological options.
As evidenced in each historical phase of the PE, the use of a qualitative methodology predominated: thematic research in Freire’s pedagogical proposal; participatory action research (PAR) in its foundational stage; collective reconstruction of the history and critical ethnography in its expansion phase; systematization of practices since the 1990s; and the emergence of innovative and aesthetic strategies at the present century. A set of methodological principles derive from this historical path of qualitative research in PE:
1. Maintaining a critical distance from institutionalized research modes in the scientific world, acknowledging their subordination to hegemonic powers.
2. Assuming PE to be both critical and emancipatory. This option is identified with values, willpower, and projects that involve new meanings of the organization of collective life.
3. Recognizing the place of the cultural and the intersubjective, both in social phenomena and in social research processes.
4. Linking it to emancipatory organizational processes and collective actions.
5. Not subordinating it to the institutional logic of disciplinary research.
6. Promoting group and organization participation in research process decisions.
7. Ensuring that it promotes formation of knowledge collectives.
8. Maintaining a critical and creative use of the theory.
9. Recognizing the plurality of subjects and promoting a “dialogue of knowledge.”
10. Incorporating diverse cultural practices within communities in order to produce and communicate their knowledge.
11. Assuming methodology to be a flexible practice.
12. Assuming research within PE is a permanent practice of critical reflection.