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Changing Configurations in Adult Education in Transitional Times

International Perspectives in Different Countries

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Bernd Käpplinger and Steffi Robak

Change and transition are prominent buzzwords in the discourse upon adult education. International conferences like the European ESREA triennial research conference 2013 in Berlin focused on these terms. But is to deal with change and transitions really something new for adult education? What is new? What has changed? Which kind of transitions do we experience and how can we systematically observe and analyse them as researchers nowadays? This anthology wants to stimulate an exchange beyond buzzwords and European perspectives and investigate what these terms could mean for research in terms of institutionalisation and professionalization in adult education in different national contexts. Therefore, distinguished scholars were invited to contribute to this anthology.
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Exploring the Professionalisation System of Adult Educators in China: How can the Actors Contribute?

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Huang Jian & Chen Huiying

Abstract

This paper aims to explore the professionalisation system of adult educators in the Chinese context, analyze the potential actors in the system and discuss the interaction among those actors in order to enhance the development of the professionalisation of adult educators. It begins with the introduction of a preliminary survey on the current situation of adult educators in Shanghai indicating the contradiction of the increasing demand for adult education and the relatively slow development of the professionalisation of adult educators. The reality shows that although there is an urgent demand for professionalisation in educators of this kind in China, the ideas of who is responsible for the professionalisation system and how to develop this system are still blurred. From the perspectives of the sociology of professions, this paper considers that professionalisation could be seen as a social system driven by four main actors: government, university, professional community and society. These actors interact with each other during the process of professionalisation to gradually make a human activity a profession, and meanwhile to realize the professionalisation of the practitioners involved in this activity. Nevertheless, they play different roles and have different impacts on the professionalisation system as profession and context vary. Based on this theoretical lens, the four potential actors constitute an analytical framework in the paper for the exploration of their roles and contributions to the development of adult educators’ professionalisation system. In addition, this paper summarizes three key...

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