Conference Contribution Details
Mandatory Fields
Cotter, G.
Exploring Development Education with University Students and people with Intellectual & Neurological Disabilities, using community-based-learning, digital-story-telling and radio.
2nd International Paulo Freire Conference: ‘Education is an act of love and thus an act of courage’ – Paulo Freire.
The University of Central Lancashire’s Cyprus Campus, Pyla, Larnaca, Cyprus
Invited Lectures (Conference)
Optional Fields
This paper is based on a critical ethnographical research project carried out with university students in collaboration with people with intellectual/neurological disabilities. It asks “what can educators learn about student and community-partners’ engagement in Global/Local Social Justice issues, through community-based-learning, technology-enhanced learning and radio”? Residents from care services attended six workshops on Global Citizenship Education with UCC students. Two students were also on work-placements alongside the researcher for six months. Participants developed radio shows, digital-stories and an archive based on a move out of institutional care into the community. They made links with projects in other countries and with asylum-seekers. The research formed part of a wider Phd research programme which used critical ethnographical and narrative approaches to explore deeply student- and community-focused pedagogy. During the workshops the group made contact online with a partner organisation in India and also had guest speakers from Kenyan community radio and from a person who had lived in the system of Direct Provision in Ireland. In addition to the workshops the researcher and students worked closely with two individuals moving out of institutional care after approximately twenty years and into their own homes in the community. Together all participants created digital stories about the move out of care and a digital archive which included historical documents about disability care services in Ireland and individual stories. Students also used an online forum and blogging to document their experiences. All participants also made radio programmes about their learning which were aired on a community radio. The result is a holistic framework for engaging participants in the generation of the research data. We are learning that the human connection (between students, partners and educator) is at the heart of good pedagogy and that new technologies and radio can enhance this if used with integrity. The co-creation approach to education which is student- and community -led is effective in engaging students in Global Citizenship. What is often unseen when creating digital artefacts, is the deep relationship that can be built between a community partner and a student. Students should be encouraged to reflect upon these relationships. The educator needs to learn how to weave academic frameworks into this collaborative relationship in a way which helps students find their voice, analyse their real-world experience within a development education framework and learn how to take action for change. There is a dialogue with students and not a “one size fits all”. For community partners there are ethical issues around power and autonomy but the over-riding experience is deeply empowering.