A template for deschooling learning and earning

Year: 2015

Author: Singh, Michael, Harreveld, Bobby

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

In this changing globalized world significant geographical shifts are occurring in the sites of learning and earning. This poses problems for institutionalized school and teacher education alike, with respect to the selection of range and balance of learning experiences that can fruitfully and creatively feed into young adults’ life/work trajectories. For this special issue of International Review of Education this paper addresses the question of what definitions of ‘experiential learning’ inform the research and practice of educators so as to provide a template for deschooling learning and earning experiences. Specifically, this explores ways in which to (a) conceptualize experiential learning in reference to classroom-centric schooling, school-to-work transition and deschooling experiential l’earning; (b) critically analyse a longitudinal, large-scale study of a reform that incorporated deschooled experiential l’earning in senior secondary education (Years 10-12), and (c) document key concepts informing a template for deschooling experiential l’earning through reference to its marrying of young adults’ education, training and work experiences during this time (notionally 15-18 years of age). Here the template for deschooling experiential l’earning is defined in terms of the brokering of directed experiences whereby young adults develop their capabilities to learn from highly skilled knowledge workers in cutting edge industries. The analysis addresses fur key questions: What knowledge can young adults acquire through deschooled experiential l’earning? What educational transformations does this make possible? How can deschooling experiential l’earning meet the needs of social justice and equity? What implications follow from this account of deschooling experiential l’earning for teacher education? This paper helps build a nuanced template for deschooling experiential l’earning – exploring what it means, how it can be fostered in informal educational environments, how it can be studied, and how it relates to the goal of developing lifelong learning capabilities. The paper’s provides insights into the relatively unexplored territory of deschooling experiential l’earning for educators, specifically in the field of preservice teacher education. It brings to the fore this ‘unthought category of thought’ (Bourdieu & Wacquant, 1992: 40) so as to imagine fresh possibilities for educators and teacher education.