Community engagement and transformational education

Year: 2009

Author: Butcher, Jude, Egan, Luke, Howard, Peter

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In working with people and communities, education is a major force for bringing about positive transformations. There are many reasons why this is so. Education means knowledge, skills, intellectual stimulation, social interaction, and entertainment. Along with these more specific benefits, it is argued that increased hope is a general, underlying benefit of education, and one that is especially relevant to the community engagement mission. When educational initiatives help to create more hopeful communities, community members can benefit in ways that stretch far beyond the positive outcomes typically associated with education. Enhanced hope in the educational sphere translates into broader increases in hope throughout one's entire life. This paper gives examples of community engagement and transformative educational experiences that aim to empower people and communities who have experienced disadvantage, and, in the process, to increase their levels of hope. It is argued that education is a key process in any effort to engage with communities, not only because of its specific benefits, but because it builds and promotes hope.

Key Phrase: Social Justice