“Class” is in Session: Activism and Adult Learning in Unpaid Student Practicums
Keywords: Practicums, Hidden Curriculum, Intern Rights, Neoliberalism, Adult Education, Post-Secondary Education, Adult Learning
AbstractThis paper will explore the phenomenon of unpaid student practicums and their proliferation within contemporary post-secondary education. Although practicums undoubtedly provide for powerful opportunities to link theory with practice in ways that can transform an individual’s ontology and epistemology, it is important to recognize that opportunities to “learn by doing” do not appear by happenstance. More specifically, this paper will use several theoretical perspectives and my own extensive experiences with mandatory, unpaid practicums to interrogate the learning that happens in these environments. It will argue that the emergence of a particularly active Intern Rights Movement in Québec in recent months represents not only a growing resistance to the lessons of the “hidden curriculum” of unpaid work experiences, but a “spiraling back” towards adult education’s activist roots as a movement for social change.
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