Adult teaching and learning theory: a psychoanalytic investigation

Davies, Lindsay (2010) Adult teaching and learning theory: a psychoanalytic investigation. PhD thesis, University of Nottingham.

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The overarching aim of this thesis is to enhance the theoretical status of post-compulsory education by effecting a non-empirical, psychoanalytic examination of adult teaching and learning theories. The study arises out of the observation that – in comparison with disciplines within the Social Sciences, Arts and Humanities - psychoanalytic perspectives are both underemployed in practical contexts and have negligible theoretical impact within this field.

The study provides a contribution to educational theory and practice through the development of a postmodern psychoanalytical methodology and its methods. These are operationalised through the development of a suite of tools based on Jung's (1971) the theory of psychological types. This involves the adaptation of Jung's psychological categories into epistemological characteristics that are then used to identify strengths, contradictions and omissions within theoretical material. The resulting Jungian Typological Instrument (JTI) is applied to selected case study topics that reflect contemporary discourses, theories and concepts within the field of adult teaching and learning.

In order to demonstrate the effectiveness of the JTI it is applied to two case study topics and critically examines their theoretical underpinnings. The first of these topics is the 'micro' model of reflection-in-action, which is drawn from Schön's (1983) formulation of reflective practice. The larger, 'macro', discourse of lifelong learning forms the second case study as articulated in the UNESCO report Learning to Be (Faure et al. 1972) and the Green Paper The Learning Age (DfEE 1998). The insights and outcomes arising from these analyses form the evaluation process for the methods.

As psychoanalytic approaches are not unproblematic, this investigation incorporates philosophical reflection and conceptual analysis as meta-level evaluation strategies for the methodological level of the study. This dual-level evaluation reveals that the proposed methodology and methods together offer a robust and trustworthy approach to theoretical analysis, which has potential applications for both theory and practice within the adult teaching and learning context.

Item Type: Thesis (University of Nottingham only) (PhD)
Supervisors: Wallis, J.V.
Keywords: Adult education, adult learning, psychoanalysis
Subjects: L Education > LC Special aspects of education > LC5201 Education extension. Adult education. Continuing education
Faculties/Schools: UK Campuses > Faculty of Social Sciences, Law and Education > School of Education
Item ID: 11791
Depositing User: EP, Services
Date Deposited: 04 Feb 2011 11:35
Last Modified: 15 Dec 2017 01:38

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