Revealing the diverse identities of society in Adult Education

Adult Education and the realization that societies do not simply change, they are revealed – they reveal their exuberant identity as it is shaped by each of us, the members of a diversified whole.

Abstract Art piece by The Everyday Artist

In adult education, the concept of diversity is central. It is linked to the integration processes but also to the evolution of the mechanisms of active participation of all, through the prism of equal opportunities. There would be no reason to talk about equal opportunities if we had not accepted the presence of diversity within the social fabric. The debate, however, usually focuses on visible differences as if to remind us that the real world is not homogeneous, nor does it appear to be. This diversity and its exuberant presence leads us to realize the formation of a network of education services that compensates for the shortcomings produced by ‘one system for all’. The truth is that there is a tendency for oversimplification when it comes to the practice of providing education. For practical reasons – economy – this trend of homogenization created more problems than it probably expected to solve.
In today’s societies, it is precisely the awareness of diversity that is the trigger for the individualized provision of education services. In adult education centers, this is experienced every day, when we realize that the programs we create are of an exclusive nature from the beginning – the oxymoron – although they start based on the inclusion and acceptance of everyone.
We therefore realize that societies do not simply change, we believe that they are revealed – they reveal their exuberant identity as it is shaped by each of us, the members of a diversified whole, limited by binary approaches – good- bad / beautiful- ugly / educated- uneducated. There is no intermediate reality rich in variations and compositions of possibilities, approaches, individual compositions.
In practice, thus, acceptance of diversity is inherently complex and requires total preparation. The field of Adult Education does not only concern the act of teaching and learning but it must reflect a general philosophy of acceptance of the different from the first call for participation. Respect and intercultural empathy must characterize the grid of messages, symbolic or not.
How can this happen ? Mutual trust is needed in the first place – In order to learn to address everybody and everyone individually, we must make the idea of change our companion.

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