PLE draws from a number of educational theories and concepts.
Andragogy is a term first used by a German educator, Alexander Kapp (1800 – 1969) to refer to adult education as distinct from the education of children, pedagogy. The term has enjoyed an evolution over the ensuing years and was popularized again in the late sixties by Malcolm Knowles. Knowles articulated a number of assumptions about adult learners and generated four principles of andragogy. His assertion that adults need to be involved in planning and evaluating their instruction, that experience provides the basis for adults’ learning, that adults look for learning opportunities that have immediate relevance, and that their learning is problem-centred rather than content-oriented have proven sound grounding for much PLE.
Other adult educators of interest include J. Roby Kidd and Gordon Selman.
Paulo Friere’s book, The Pedagogy of the Oppressed, caused quite a sensation among activists in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Although these were formative years for PLE, connections to his work is not readily apparent. However, it did constitute part of the context in which PLE was incubated. Contemporary critical education writers include Stephen Brookfield.
Critical pedagogy has also evolved to include various particular focii, including anti-racist, feminist, post-colonial, and queer theories.
Many of the assumptions taken for granted in contemporary educational activities are grounded in the thinking of John Dewey. Known for his progressive approach to education and his commitment to democracy, he provides a solid foundation for public legal education directed to citizenship development among young people.
Popular education methods have evolved since they first became of interest in the late sixties and early seventies as a result of the influence of Paulo Friere. Originally tied closely with class struggle and social transformation, the term is now sometimes used to refer to particular methods developed by popular educators but used for other purposes. In PLE they are sometimes adopted as a means of introducing participants to legal information or to address literacy barriers.
Documents of interest: Adult Education
Brookfield, S. (2005) The Power of Critical Theory for Adult Learning and Teaching. (Maidenhead: Open University Press).
De Lissovoy, N. (2018) Pedagogy of the anxious: rethinking critical pedagogy in the context of neooliberal autonomy and responsibilizaton, 33 (2) J of Education Policy 187 – 205
Knowles, M. (1988) The Modern Practice of Adult Education: From Pedagogy to Andragogy revised edition (March 1988) (Cambridge Book Co)
Loeng, S. (2017) Alexander Kapp – the first known user of the andragogy concept. 36 (6) IJLE 629 – 643 available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/02601370.2017.1363826