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Informal education, its drivers and geographies: necessity and curiosity in Africa and the West

Smith, Thomas Aneurin and Philips, Richard 2016. Informal education, its drivers and geographies: necessity and curiosity in Africa and the West. In: Abebe, Tatek, Waters, Johanna and Skelton, Tracey eds. Geographies of Children and Young People: Labouring and Learning, Vol. 10. Geographies of Children and Young People, Springer, pp. 1-25. (10.1007/978-981-4585-97-2_13-1)

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Abstract

This chapter explores informal education in the contemporary world, examining its forms, content, status, significance, and, in most detail, its drivers. To do so, it addresses the following questions: What is informal education? What motivates informal learning and teaching? Two key drivers are identified: necessity and curiosity. This raises further questions about how these drivers vary across the world: the geographies of necessity-driven and curiosity-driven learning, respectively. These geographies are examined through a global survey, which includes detail from two, apparently contrasting locations: Tanzania, where one might expect necessity to dominate informal learning, and the UK, where one might expect learners to be motivated more by curiosity. This chapter then goes on to interrogate this polarized geography, finding that it presents too simplistic a picture and that the differences between informal learning in these settings are not so stark. Curiosity-driven informal learning is not confined to the West nor necessity-driven learning to less wealthy parts of the world. Indeed, the dichotomy between necessity and curiosity does not stand up to scrutiny, since curiosity has practical dimensions, and practice can benefit from curiosity. Learners in different parts of the world have more in common than is first apparent, even though the differences between their educational experiences and learning environments remain very real.

Item Type: Book Section
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Geography and Planning
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
L Education > L Education (General)
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9789814585972
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 08:52
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/86891

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