Between common and college knowledge: Exploring the boundaries between adult and higher education
Fleming, Dr Ted and Murphy, Dr Mark (2000) Between common and college knowledge: Exploring the boundaries between adult and higher education. Studies in Continuing Education, 22 (1). pp. 77-93.
The debate about access to higher education in Ireland has been linked to the debate about educational equality and socio-economic disadvantage. Most of the discussion so far has centred on mechanisms for gaining entry to higher education institutions â establishing access and foundation courses, increasing numbers of non-traditional entrants, generating modular and credit-based programmes. The findings from research undertaken at both the National University of Ireland at Maynooth and Dublin, explored the experience of mature students returning to university. The findings indicate that questions of equality and disadvantage in the university are not only concerned with access, but also with accessibility â what happens to mature students when they arrive in college. This paper goes on to reconstruct the conflict between the common sense knowledge of the returning student and the college knowledge of the academy in a way that identifies a collaborative and democratic discourse as providing a way of transcending the false dichotomies of common versus college knowledge. Habermasâ ideal speech situation and theory of communicative action are identified as providing a framework for this task. In relying on this set of ideas the case is made for linking higher education and adult education with the quest for democracy and a more just and caring world.
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