Learning to Change: A Grassroots Program Planning Model

Learning to Change: A Grassroots Program Planning Model,John Egan

Learning to Change: A Grassroots Program Planning Model   (Citations: 1)
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This program planning model seeks to mitigate a gap in current planning models found in adult education literature, and to represent grassroots programming as a vital area of practice. This model incorporates the instrumental, contextual and ethical dimensions of program planning. Contemporary program planning theory seek to provide a model by which any program planning experience can be articulated—regardless of context, practitioner or participants. Given the broad spectrum of human experience the extent to which any single model will fit all planning processes—regardless of context, actors and objectives--is dubious. Embedded in current models are assumptions about the planner, the learners, and what constitutes a "genuine" program. Most program planning models offer valuable information by which current practitioners may reflect on their own practices, and by which novice planners may avoid hours of unnecessary guesswork. Nonetheless, current program planning models do not reflect the full range of programmers' work. In particular, the efforts of planners whose communities are marginalized and excluded—communities of colour, women, gay men & lesbians, ethnic and religious minorities and the disabled—follow practices that are do not fit neatly into the codification of these models. As such, their work is not adequately represented in the literature. In this paper I offer a grassroots program planning model, one which embraces the work of activists as a unique mode of adult education program planning. Review of the Literature Most of the canon of planning literature in adult education has it origins traceable to Ralph W. Tyler's generalist Basic Principles of Curriculum and Instruction (1969). Both Houle (1996) and Knowles (1980) narrow their focus to the practice of adult education, but each model represent a more nuanced articulation of Tyler's work. Caffarella's (1994) and Sork's (1997) models take the instrumental aspects of planning emphasized in Tyler's, Houle's and Knowles' work, and bring consideration of the planning context and the ethics embedded in the planning process directly into their models. Cervero and Wilson's critical perspective of program planning (1994; 1996) offers an unique approach in that it eschews the instrumental nature of the planning process— "what to do and how to do it" --instead focussing on the dynamics of power and interests in the planning experience. Though the questions they examine are important, for novice planners their decision to exclude technical issues renders their work vague and abstract. The extent to which their work constitutes a veritable planning model is questionable. Freire's popular education (1986) represents a learner-centered model for adult basic education programs delivered at the grassroots level. However, its design relies upon
Published in 2001.
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