From the roots to the fruit : a qualitative case study of internship.
Hemson, Crispin Michael Cole.
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The dissertation describes a project to employ two young African trainees in the Centre for Adult Education at the University of Natal in Durban. The intention was to develop them as possible community adult educators, and a list of objectives relevant to such a role was developed. The trainees worked for ten months part-time, employed mainly on administrative and clerical tasks, as opportunities for directly educational work in fact proved to be limited. The project did not achieve the objectives for the most part, at least to the desired extent, and the trainees progressed not to further community involvement but to tertiary education. It nonetheless assisted the trainees in clarifying their career goals and acting on them with considerable success. The particular frustrations and difficulties of trainees from a radically different social environment are recorded, as well as their growing confidence and changed perspectives as they began to form their own understandings of a tertiary context, and to reevaluate their own role as employees and later students. The nature of the learning that did take place is described in some detail, and the reasons are explored for the partial success and noteworthy failures of the project. The study points to the need for understanding clearly the distinction between learning in formal education and informal and incidental learning in the workplace. It explores the differences between the two kinds of learning, and points to the need for further work to describe and analyse adequately learning that takes place outside formal education. The project demonstrated the specific difficulties of the university as a site of workplace learning. It exposed the issue of content in adult education as an area which demands far greater consideration, especially in the training of adult educators, and the study underlines the need for learning of content to parallel learning of teaching method. The major adult education needs of South Africa call for flexibility in developing adult educators, and the study aims to inform ways in which internship can be used to help meet those needs.