Changes in society led to a new decree on socio-cultural work with adults in Flanders. This resulted in the foundation of a new type of organisations in non-formal education: locally oriented 'folkhighschools' or rather adult education centres. The research gathers information about how socio-cultural adult educators stay current in this fundamentally changing profession.
A face-to-face survey instrument operationalising 10 elements of professionalism was administered to the 116 educators populating the 13 community education centres across Flanders and Brussels, yielding a 96.5 percent response rate. Respondents assessed items on policy measures and global perspectives, conditions for professional development, job satisfaction, job motivation, external appreciation, sources of competences and skills, innovative methods and practices, professional roles, and normative characteristics.
The population turned out to be for the major part female and highly educated in diverse fields. The 'espoused theory' on which they base and justify their actions can be described as mainly empowerment-oriented, completed with aspects of social cohesion an inclusion. 21 items operationalising professional roles factored into 6 orientations: course-, group-, expert-, and intermediary-oriented, orientations on societal renewal and social action. Socio-cultural educators are in the first place organisers, thorough in group work and with an inspiring attitude. According to the workers, more research-based, explorative and innovative attitudes are needed. Out of the study emerges a comprehensive role repertoire as the strength of the ideal socio-cultural adult educator.
Conditions that can enhance continuous professional development are: more clarity in their responsibilities and a further implementation of quality management in the field.
Professional appreciation is mostly received from participants and colleagues, actors close to the educators' practice. The least appreciation is perceived from the government and actors such as the board of management with whom the educator has an interdependent relationship.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe teacher and the teaching profession: Current Research and International issues
EditorsM.s. Giannakaki
PublisherATINER
Pages377-389
Number of pages12
ISBN (Print)978-960-6672-25-5
Publication statusPublished - 2007

Publication series

NameThe teacher and the teaching profession: Current Research and International issues

    Research areas

  • Socio-cultural work, socio-cultural educators, adult education, Professionalism

ID: 1641757