S-Space College of Education (사범대학) Program in Environment Education (협동과정-환경교육전공) Theses (Master's Degree_협동과정-환경교육전공)
Exploring Transformation of Adults’ Identity in View of Learning as Sustainable Development
지속가능발전학습의 관점에서 본 성인기 정체성 형성: 자연사 박물관 도슨트 되기에 관한 내러티브 연구
- Johannes Tschapka
- 사범대학 협동과정 환경교육전공
- Issue Date
- 서울대학교 대학원
- 학위논문 (석사)-- 서울대학교 대학원 : 협동과정 환경교육전공, 2013. 2. Johannes Tschapka.
- Diverse risks in recent society, such as overwhelming economic or technological innovations or degradation of natural foundation of life, have caused breakdown of people’s customary routines and threatened personal belief, lifestyles and identities. With the increased uncertainty and complexity over life trajectories, renegotiating personal identities through self-reflection becomes an essential endeavor to challenge the unsustainable and seek more desirable changes in life. Such reflective and transformative process has been highlighted, especially in adulthood easily in danger of ignoring their identities, and becoming a sort of resources for economic or political development through training pedagogy.
This tendency pervasive in adult training can posit another threat in educational communities to degenerate learning as a tool for achieving certain policy goals, with little attention to what adults really learn and how their life changes. Thus, it is necessary to reframe learning which entails learners’ self-reflection and reconstruction of identity by becoming a different person. The humanistic approach leads new understanding of learning as itself a developmental process to improve the way how to be, act, and live in his/her own sustainable future beyond personal crisis, in terms of learning as sustainable development. However, despite of the perceived value of learning in relation to sustainable (human) development, little has been done to make sense of how the development occur in learning situation.
This study is intended to explore adults’ learning process involving transformation of their identity and seek its implication in the light of learning as sustainable development. To answer the question, a narrative inquiry was employed as a methodological frame to make a deeper understanding of the inner change and its meaning in biographical contexts. Based on the narrative approach, the research focused on adults who have taken their role as docents of a natural history museum in Korea and try to figure out how the adults have identified themselves around the life event of becoming a docent through their life stories. The answers of the question were found in collecting, analyzing and interpreting data from in-depth interviews with three docents who have participated in the study.
The study starts with stories of the three participants to grasp their biographical ways to reach the new world of docents. While each docent has unique life stories, it was found that there were some analogous grounds to encourage the adults to involve and sustain their work of docents. Participants encountered the practices of docent on the way of negotiating what makes their life more meaningful, beyond their past housewives or retiree’s days. For them, the docent work seems to be one of the appropriate resolutions to fulfill their long-lasting desires for constant studying, as well as teaching others and seek their own interests in environment or ecology.
Such original interests have far-reaching influence on their current enthusiastic engagement of docents in a natural history museum, and become a basic driving force to overcome difficulties in regular training courses and predicaments in novice days. Whereas participants learn and implement basic practices of docents as well as content knowledge through the training program, they do shape their own way of storytelling to utilize the knowledge and operate their tour flexibly, based on their daily studying over taking the formal lectures. The self-organized storytelling, entailing their ecological values towards other species in earth, makes the participants distinct from other docents or general guide volunteers, as docents in the natural history museum.
Throughout the depth engagement within more than five-year experiences, participants redefine themselves as “veteran” docent and at last, appreciate their involvement of docent, as their own “work”. The work refers not to the employment to earn money, rather, to a living field which make the adults open new values, retain their social engagement, and ultimately, recover their self-confidence, satisfaction and pleasure of life, even with little payment. This intrinsic value of the docent work was evident in all of the participants’ stories and has leaded their central mindset to sustain their work despite of tensions between their other duties in social roles, such as housewives or retirees.
These finding supports that deep involvement in certain practices with a sense of selfhood goes beyond the duty of roles, to a high level of engagement to influence self-identity. Thus, although this research can be appertained to local stories about adults’ experience of becoming a docents, it can be worth as an explanatory example of how adults transform their identity beyond their personal dilemma and pursue their own values, actions and pleasure of life through social involvement. The findings of this type of exploratory study have potentially important implications in critical understandings of learning in adulthood, beyond traditional training approaches for mastery of knowledge or skills, as a process of personal development within opportunities to challenge various social risks which can make their life unsustainable and reshape their own life in a more desirable way.