23 Sep 2020

AONTAS Launch the Adult Learner Journal 2020

AONTAS, the National Adult Learning Organisation launched the 2020 edition of The Adult Learner Journal at an online event today (23.09.2020).

The launch was attended by over 80 people from across the globe including Northern Ireland, England, Scotland, Spain, Norway, Belgium, Serbia, Portugal, the US and Pakistan.

Founded in the mid-1980s, The Adult Learner is the only peer-reviewed Irish Journal of Adult and Community Education which engages with issues across the spectrum of adult learning, both in Ireland and on an international level.

Celebrating fifty years since the first English publication of Paulo Freire’s book, Pedagogy of the Oppressed, this edition of The Adult Learner pays tribute to the influence of Paulo Freire’s ideas in the field of adult and community education and beyond.

Welcoming guests to the online event were AONTAS CEO Niamh O’Reilly and Journal Editor Rosemary Moreland.

Speaking at the event today, Niamh Reilly, CEO of AONTAS, said: “The journal launch has brought together adult and community education academics, tutors, policy makers and learners from across the globe to help make education for all a reality. Many of the adult learning approaches that engage people are based on the thinking of Freire, in a COVID-19 context, now more than ever is a time to ensure all adults can participate in education throughout their lives.”

Journal Editor Dr Rosemary Moreland gave an overview of the 2020 edition of the publication, highlighting the importance of Freire’s ideas, in contributing to creating a more just and equitable society.

Dr Moreland stated that: “At this historic juncture, where the norms of our everyday realities have been stripped away; where social and economic uncertainties are the subject of daily conversation, now more than ever, we require a widescale adoption of Freire’s ‘problematising education’, where we question what kind of world do we want for ourselves and our children and how do we make it happen? Freire’s writings are not just ideas to be discussed – they are a call to action!”

Attendees also heard from Sir Alan Tuckett OBE and Peter Lavender, both Professors of Education at the University of Wolverhampton. Speaking in conversation on the implications of Freire’s writing for current policies on adult learning Sir Prof Tuckett remarked: “The inspiring thing about Freire's work is how it combines a focus on what we know together, how we can learn to overcome shared problems, and for learners' collective voices to be heard.”

Prof Lavender continued: “He taught us to base our teaching of adults on learner voice and experience.  His analysis of why collective learning and dialogue with students matters, and his understanding of power in relation to educational theory, is as relevant today as it was 50 years ago.”

The event featured a number of international special guests including Professor José Pedro Amorim, a member of Instituto Paulo Freire in Porto who reflected on Paulo Freire’s legacy.

Authors also shared what inspired them to write their articles and gave short summaries of the contents. Among these were Finola McCarthy who shared her experience of engaging with Freire’s praxis through teaching horticulture. McCarthy and O’Brien highlighted how critical dialogue and reflexive action is an evolving journey of unlearning and hope for both learners and educators.

Meanwhile, for Amanda Slevin and the Queen’s University Belfast students involved in the ‘Creating our Vision for a Greener Future’ project, Freire became a cornerstone of teaching, learning and action for socio-ecological transformation.

Zoryana Pshyk described her experience of reading Freire when she was living in Direct Provision saying: “In Freire I found an ally who had more precise understanding of my day-to-day struggles than anyone else ever had.”

The Adult Learner is a free online resource accessible to all. Find out more about the newly launched Journal at: