Summer School for adult educators

Author :

Dušana Findeisen, Ana Krajnc, Nives Ličen

Duration :

10 years in total and 1 year for the employability of the low educated and low skilled unemployed learners

Target group of learners:

Marginalized social groups in local community and adult educators

Institutions involved :

Faculty of Philosophy, Logos group of independent educators, Slovenian Third Age University

Goals / Objectives :

To support local development and participation of socially marginalised groups

Structure / Contents :

Summer School  for adult educators was established in Ajdovščina, a small locality in the Western part of Slovenia. The  country town was chosen for its small dimensions because what we wanted was to target with our activities the whole town and not just one  area.  We thought that in this once heavily industrialised country town it would be possible to meet low educated inhabitants. Adult educators-researchers went to the local library,  regional museum, church, pubs. They got familiar with local  media, newspapers, radio, television, associations, social groups, service agencies and visible individuals who could support  inclusive local development. They  entered into contact  with local inhabitants, they got familiar with animation street work. According to  Slovenian research  studies, the majority of  long term unemployed were  functionally illiterate who were left behind  and who waited  for changes to come. Annually Summer School for adult educators  gathered  adult educators from Slovenia and Croatia to consider the needs of  socially marginalised groups and to set up programmes for them and local community. Typical groups were young dropouts from school, people about to get retired, older people, the unemployed, the low educated and low skilled unemployed and low literate inhabitants of Ajdovščina, a small country town. The school was also attended by the Mayor of the Town. He understood that  his town had to be inclusive  and so  a new cultural centre was financed by the municipality, while it was built and managed by the inhabitants , a Third Age University, a new educational tourist centre, etc.  Summer school of adult educators also became a UNESCO example of good practice in the field of education for low educated adults.  We developed a script for the film “You will have to do it yourself”  thinking of the knowledge  local people and local authorities would need for personal  and community development and for managing the local community on their own.  For one year our attention was focused on ALPHA, a UNESCO research on functional literacy while the film we made together with the Montreal Tele University and it was screened at the  UNESCO World  congress in Hamburg.

Methods / Animation :

To approach  low educated adults in situation of functional illiteracy was radically different from approaching other  socially marginalised groups. It was practically impossible. As a rule, they did not appear in public places like other townspeople. They could not be met  in the local library, cinema, theatre, pubs, discos not even in the church. They did not participate in public events or Summer School like other inhabitants.  During one-week  Ajdovščina, a small  locality in Western Slovenia.  turned into a” university town” The instigators were university teachers  Prof. Dr Ana Krajnc and Assist. Prof. Dr. Dušana Findeisen so they brought to this little town other most visible academics from Slovenia, Croatia, Europe, Canada. Each day there  was a special radio broadcast with interviews with the participants of the school and local authorities. Voice was given to them. The whole town was literally “covered” with posters and  huge bands saying: With you for the development of your locality. Sumer school for adult educators, Faculty of Philosophy, Ljubljana. We involved visible responsible  individuals from  local community. The Mayor, the school headmaster, local artists etc. Each day we organised ample media coverage, press releases, press conferences. We animated local inhabitants and institutions to participate with their puppet plays and their own research etc. We organised  a local fair of educational materials and organisations etc. We lived with the inhabitants, but it  was practically impossible to get low educated  adults involved in all these different activities. So, we went to their homes, to the blocks of flats built by   local factories for their workers. We knocked on the door, rang the bells in the middle of the afternoon and  found them  lying  on bed watching TV,  eating. We spent with them  approx. two hours and like some religious missionaries we talked to them about them about us about the power of education. And we came back to visit them many times, each time going a little bit further in discussion and common reading,  and again discussing, and common reading again. We learned about their life history, their fears and hopes. We  asked them : “ What are you afraid of” or “What are your hopes for the future”. (like we later asked others in the local community, which was a basis for  ulterior  ALPHA research and a national doctorate thesis. It was  for us  one of the early examples of home, mobile education, very much individual. We went through different phases of mentoring relationship and manged  professional insertion for some learners. Some of them felt motivated enough to come to the Summer school.  to our  school.

Evaluation / Feedback :

There was no formal evaluation. We were successful in our work  if our students started  reading, getting out of their home, searching for a job, coming to the events of our school, if they  got employed with our help.

Certified by / Not certified :

This educational course was not certified.

Link of the resource

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