ERIC Number: EJ955039
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2011
Getting to Know You: The Prospect of Challenging Ableism through Adult Learning
McLean, Margaret A.
New Directions for Adult and Continuing Education, n132 p13-22 Win 2011
Ableism is discrimination on the grounds that being able bodied is the normal and superior human condition. In contrast, being "disabled" is linked to ill health, incapacity, and dependence. These understandings become institutionalized in the beliefs, language, and practices of nondisabled people and create barriers to equitable social participation for many disabled people. Able-bodied people are often unaware of the constraining impact of disability. For that reason, they are likely to assume that the circumstances of their able-bodied world are universal. Adult education is one context where ableist notions may persist unrecognized and unchallenged as these understandings have become institutionalized in the beliefs, language, and practices of nondisabled people. The fact that most teachers and learners currently are able-bodied individuals may also complicate and obscure ableist prejudice. This article suggests the potential of contact and relationship of able-bodied people with disabled people to lead adult learners to begin to identify, confront, and change ableist views of disability. Further, the article considers the implications of contact for initial and ongoing professional development.
Descriptors: Adult Learning, Adult Students, Adult Education, Adult Educators, Educational Strategies, Barriers, Disability Discrimination, Social Bias, Interpersonal Relationship, Consciousness Raising, Attitudes toward Disabilities, Disabilities, Teacher Education, Beliefs, Attitude Change, Social Justice, Service Learning, Change Strategies
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Adult Education; Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A