A ‘curriculum moment’ for Adult and Community Education and Training: Acknowledging the voices and experiential knowledge of lecturers and students at community learning sites
Keywords:Curriculum reform and development, knowledge structures, community college, learning sites, Adult and Community Education and Training
Curriculum reform and development is, first and foremost, a political project. It involves the selection, organisation and distribution of particular knowledge structures. But factors such as student and teacher demographics deeply influence the ways in which curricula can be implemented, enacted and used as a catalyst for change. In South Africa, a particular ‘curriculum moment’ has emerged in the field of Adult and Community Education and Training (ACET) through the establishment of community colleges, along with the introduction of new educator qualifications for ACET. In this article, we draw on the reflective diary entries of student lecturers on an Advanced Diploma for Educators of Adults (ADEA) course who are lecturers at community learning sites, to reflect on this moment of curriculum construction in the development of a new Diploma in Adult and Community Education and Training (DipACET). The analysis shows that while curriculum reform is crucial to professionalising the field, it will have a very limited impact if the voices of the lecturers and students at community learning sites are marginalised in the process. These lecturers have experiential knowledge which sets them apart as crucial drivers of the curriculum. Moreover, they select and organise the content to be taught, determine how it is to be taught, and decide on the kinds of knowledge that should be privileged at sites where the curriculum is implemented. We also delineate what counts as valuable knowledge and for whom it is valuable in the field of adult and community education.