The aim of Education for Empowerment: The social aspects of learning designed to promote citizenship is to introduce a social psychological approach to education and for participants to combine these ideas with their experiences and expertise in participatory education. The course attracted participants from Peru, Ireland, Turkey and South Africa, and was facilitated by course instructor Dr Sarah Jay, Social Psychologist and International Research Fellow from the Department of Politics and Public Administration, University of Limerick, Ireland.
The course provides readings which enables participants to develop an understanding of the social identity approach, a social psychological framework developed to explain intergroup relations and the social aspects of behaviour and thinking. This approach is an antidote to the overemphasis in current thought on the individual as if in isolation, and a tendency to overlook the social context in which our lives are embedded.
From this perspective our ability to effect social change for a better, more just future, rests in our collective selves – in a shared sense of social identity as empowered citizens.
The social identity approach to learning may also compliment the collaborative and democratic principles of participatory education. Therefore, during reflection activities participants are encouraged to reflect upon and explore the complimentary aspects of these approaches