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THE REAL WIZARDS OF OZ
By John Ohliger [Annotated from the December 9, 1991 issue of Adult & Continuing Education Today]
LERN leaders Bill Draves and Julie Coates are in Australia this month participating in adult education conferences and visiting LERN members in "Oz" -- what many Australians call their country (Flexner). I looked for wizards when I visited Oz a few years ago and found two: Brian Martin and Helen Modra (Brennan, Ohliger, 1985-1987d). Brian and Helen are real wizards, not the bogus Wizard of Oz as portrayed in the famous Judy Garland movie.
A DIPLOMA FOR THE SCARECROW
However, at the end of the film the Wizard of Oz redeems himself. As one of the screenplay's authors. Yip Harburg, comments: "My humorous spirit said, 'Why not show up some of the follies we live by?' When a guy goes to college, he doesn't emerge with any more wisdom than when he went in. All he's got is his diploma. So let's be realistic: give the scarecrow a diploma -- and ipso facto, a brain (Harburg, Hannetz, Hearn)." Likewise, Brian's and Helen's educational Wiz-dom is their recognition that a degree has little to do with real learning!
In mid-November I placed international phone calls to Brian near Sydney and Helen near Melbourne to learn what happened to adult education since I visited Oz, where it's going now, and what their views are on where it should be going (SEE ALSO: Cunningham).
Brian Martin is a prominent Australian author on educational, social, and political issues (Lovett, Martin, 1979-1991h, Ohliger, 1990). He is a Lecturer, Science and Technology Studies Department, University of Wollongong. Says Brian: "The central government from about 1987 has moved to take greater control over higher education, including very strong pressures to amalgamate institutions -- putting together previous institutions -- dictating profiles for research and taking greater control over finances. The most chaotic are the amalgamations. They're causing incredible tensions and backfighting within the institutions. Adult education is forgotten, because the main aim is to orient higher education to the so-called 'national interest,' which means government and big business."
THE RICH GET RICHER AND THE POOR GET POORER
Brian was born and raised here but emigrated to Australia where he has now spent half his life. I asked him if the Australians are beholden to the United States for this policy: "I don't think it's shaped by the U.S. much. But it's basically in that same direction to introduce so-called 'market principles,' which means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer."
Here's what Brian believes should happen in adult education: "I'd like to see a combination of people working in the universities and people working on the outside in social movements. Instead of defending against the changes going on by saying we want the old pure university doing pure research, say we want research, teaching, learning, oriented to the community -- community involvement. In other words, challenging both orientations dominant in the debate -- the one orientation, the academic one; the other, government priorities and business priorities. Really challenging both of those rather than just joining that debate."
When I called Helen Modra (Modra, 1989) she suggested I talk to another Helen in the Melbourne area, Helen Gribble, to get a more up-to-date view (Modra, 1991). Ms. Gribble is the secretary of the Network for Women in Further Education, a recently formed group in Australia. "Further education" includes much that we call "adult education."
Says Helen Gribble: "The Network of Women in Further Education arose out of the view that since 80 percent of the participants in adult education are women, it was astounding to many of us that issues to do with women and women's learning were not being addressed. It was clear, that for the last hundred years, this was the case, but you would never know that women were the predominant users of adult education from the debate that's gone on. Our network is particularly interested in the interface between adult education, further study, and opportunities for work and income. That's really why we formed our association. We were originally part of the Australian Association for Adult and Community Education (AAACE). That's why we decided to go it alone. The culture of the AAACE is still conservative."
A GOOD QUESTION
I asked Helen Gribble if she thinks the direction the government is going in now will help the women in her network? "That's a good question. I don't know. They have just released a really important report saying that the capacity to think analytically, synthesize ideas, solve problems, and communicate well are all crucial in all jobs, and so vocational education has to now incorporate a much stronger element of that kind of education (Bita, Juddery, Trinca). That's the kind of education that adult education has said we should be giving adults. I have doubts about the capacity of a system that's been geared up to teach in an entirely different way, to give effect to those goals. But, at least, the government has said that's what the goals ought to be, and that's significant. Whether women will get much access to that, will be a great struggle. It's going to take a considerable shift in the way it operates before we're going to get access." I have just found a third real Wizard of Oz: Helen Gribble.
Complete transcripts of the phone conversations with Brian Martin (pages 12-14) and Helen Gribble (pages 14-15), along with background information about them and about the issues treated above, are available in a 15-page document. Send $5 in advance in U.S. funds to Basic Choices/OZ (no requests for billing).
[THERE ARE 430 REFERENCES TO AUSTRALIA IN THE BASIC CHOICES COMPUTER FILES. BELOW ARE A FEW OF THEM WITH ONES ADDED FOR THIS COLUMN.]
"GT" refers to: The Great Tradition; A History of Adult Education in Australia. By Derek Whitelock (St. Lucia, Australia: University of Queensland Press, 1974) who writes: "Adult education -- which, whatever else it may be, is rich in 'human interest' -- is rarely mentioned in Australian literature. By 1974 this omission has been partially rectified (313)." For examples of works of imagination about Australian adult education see below: DeWeese, Eldridge, Geason, Jefferis, Jolley, Martin (1965), Moorhouse, Pedley, Pittman, Power, & Williamson.
Bita, Natasha (1991). "Adult Education Network Plan." The Australian, November 28, p. 4. "Community learning centres must be given more public funds to create a new education network for the avalanche of adults unable to gain access to universities and technical colleges, a Senate committee says. A report from the Senate standing committee on employment, education and training urges the federal and State governments to provide more funding for hobby courses as well as vocational training. Migrants, the elderly, the disabled and women with children would benefit the most from a nationally organised and publicly funded adult education network, the committee says.
"The report, Come in Cinderella, tabled in the Senate yesterday, says community-based adult education centres have thrived 'despite government neglect.' It issues a warning that universities and technical and further education colleges are quickly becoming the province of the 'middle class', forcing low-income earners into poorly funded community education networks. Users of these adult education networks often pay a disproportionately high level of 'user-pays' fees compared with those enrolled in vocational courses, the committee says, and many centres rely on volunteer workers. The committee reports that schools, TAPE colleges and universities are too inflexible and unresponsive to meet Australia's goals of improving work skills and general educational standards..."
Brennan, Barrie (1987). "Conversation with John Ohliger." Australian Journal of Adult Education, Vol. 27, No. 3, November, pp. 52-56, 65. "A recent visitor to Australia was John Ohliger. John is probably best known in Australia for his articles and his center in Madison 'for clarifying political and social options,' Basic Choices. His visit to Australia was sponsored by the Australian Association for Adult Education (AAAE). When he was interviewed by the Editor in Armidale, he had already attended a AAAE Conference in Libraries and Adult Education at Halls Gap in Victoria, visited Melbourne (and other cities) and been a participant in a University of New England Conference on continuing professional education. Reference is made in the conversation to three people he met on his Victorian visit -- Helen Modra, Sue Healy and Marian Letcher. As it was spring during his visit to the University of New England, reference is also made to magpies. In spring, nests and territory are defended by the birds by 'bombing' passers-by (52)."
Cunningham, Phyllis M (1991). "International Influences on the Development of Knowledge." Chapter 14 in Adult Education: Evolution and Achievements in a Developing Field of Study. John M. Peters & Peter Jarvis, editors. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, pp. 347-383. "Mark Tennant (Adult and Continuing Education in Australia. Routledge. Chapman & Hall, 1990) edited a book surveying Australia's practice of adult education that gives the North American reader a good overview of that continent's practice (372)."
DeWeese, Gene & Robert Coulson (1977). Charles Fort Never Mentioned Wombats. Doubleday. Strange doings at the World Science Fiction Convention being held in Australia.
Eldridge, Marian (1984). "Adult Education." A short story by the Australian author in her collection Walking the Dog and Other Stories. St. Lucia, Queensland: University of Queensland Press. Harrington Vane, an author, makes a pass at Chattie right after he convinces her that he's beyond such things, thus advancing her "adult education." Chattie had just previously enrolled in adult ed class called "Leave the Dishes in the Sink" where she has praised Vane's work.
Flexner, Stuart Berg, editor (1987). The Random House Dictionary of the English Language: Second Edition, Unabridged. Random House. "OZ (oz), n. Australian Slang. Australia, [jocular back formation from AUSSIE (with voiced sibilant) (1389)]."
Geason, Susan (1987). "Connections." Short story in Penthouse (Australian edition, November, pp. 98+). Two main characters finance their own non-traditional education (adult degrees) through gambling and prostitution.
Harburg, Yip (1982). "From the Lower East Side to 'Over the Rainbow,'" In Creators and Disturbers: Reminiscences by Jewish Intellectuals of New York. Drawn from conversations with Bernard Rosenberg and Ernest Goldstein. Columbia University Press, pp. 137-154. "Whatever weakness existed in the original story [of The Wizard of Oz) we replaced with new ideas. For example, my satiric sense rebelled when the Wizard gave the Tin Man a red pill for a heart and the scarecrow a white pill for a brain. It was pat -- and meaningless. My humorous spirit said, 'Put a little bit into this. Why not show up some of the follies we live by?' When a guy goes to college, he doesn't emerge with any more wisdom than when he went in. All he's got is his diploma. So let's be realistic: give the scarecrow a diploma -- and ipso facto, a brain. In like manner, the do-gooders of the world never achieve hearts, but testimonials. Ergo, a watch for the Tin Man -- that ticks like a heart. Plus an inscription for good deeds done. And last of all, the coward who survives a war never achieves courage. But he does get a medal. And forever ever, that medal terrifies the community (151)."
Harmetz, Aljean (1989). The Making of the Wizard of Oz. A Delta Book (Dell Publishing), 1989. "Yip Harburg's only screen credit on The Wizard of Oz was 'Lyrics: E.Y. Harburg.' But the final shooting script is actually his blend of [Florence] Ryerson['s], [Edgar Allan] Woolf['s], and [Noel] Langley['s scripts]. 'I liked a lot of things Langley had done and threw the other stuff out. I clarified the story. I edited the whole thing and brought back Langley's story, which was simpler. And I added my own (57).'
"The major thing Harburg added was the scene in which the Wizard gives the Scarecrow a diploma, the Tin Woodman a testimonial, and the Cowardly Lion a medal. In Baum, the Wizard had provided the Scarecrow with a head full of pins and needles, the Tin Man with a chest full of red silk heart, and the Lion with a drink that had only to be swallowed to turn to courage. In most of the scripts, the Scarecrow, Tin Man, and Lion had discovered they had always possessed the brains, heart, and courage for which they had been searching. Harburg 'devised the satiric and cynical idea of the Wizard handing out symbols because I was aware of our lives being the images of things rather than the things themselves (57-58)."
Hearn, Michael Patrick, editor (1989). The Wizard of Oz: The Screenplay. By Noel Langley, Florence Ryerson, & Edgar Allan Woolf. From the book by L. Frank Baum. Delta Book, Dell Publishing. "[FROM THE INTRODUCTION BY HEARN:] In [Herman] Mankiewicz's script. . . Dorothy also cracks topical jokes: The only wizards she knows back in Kansas are 'oil wizards and wheat wizards'; she explains to Toto a major difference between Oz and Kansas: 'Here, if you've got no brains, they stuff you and make you a scarecrow -- but back home, Uncle Henry used to say that if you had no brains, you could always go to work for the government (8-9).'
"... [Noel] Langley also left room for another number in the latter part of the film, "The Wizard's Song,' in which [The Wizard of] Oz 'points out that . . . experience is the only thing that creates a brain . . . The Wizard takes a large syringe with Brain-Brightener on it, and sends a shot into Scarecrow's hat.' A skilled script doctor himself, [Yip] Harburg wisely decided not to set this sequence to music but instead wrote the slyly satirical dialogue himself, thus perfectly defining the humbug Wizard's character, which at best had been shadowy in Langley's script (17). . . . Although he received no screen credit for his considerable contribution to the screenplay, Harburg was brought in to work out a compromise from the various drafts (23). . . .
"[FROM THE SCREENPLAY:] WIZARD Yes, that's exactly so. I'm a humbug! DOROTHY Oh, you're a very bad man! WIZARD Oh, no, my dear, I -- I'm a very good man -- I'm just a very bad wizard. SCARECROW (angrily) What about the heart that you promised Tin Man? WIZARD Well, I -- SCARECROW And the courage that you promised Cowardly Lion? WIZARD Well, I -- TIN MAN and LION And Scarecrow's brain?
"(Deleted from the film was the following dialogue in the shooting script, paraphrasing Baum's book: WIZARD Well, I -- But you've got them. You've had them all the time. TIN MAN, LION, SCARECROW Oh, no we haven't! TIN MAN You don't get out of it that way! LION Not nohow! WIZARD Well -- SCARECROW You promised us real things -- a real brain! TIN MAN A real heart! LION Real courage! That's what we want! WIZARD You do? (derogatory) Boys, you're aiming low. You not only surprise, but grieve me.)
"WIZARD (to SCARECROW) Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain! Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning -- where men go to become great thinkers, and when they come out, they think deep thoughts -- and with no more brains than you have -- but! they have one thing you haven't got! A diploma. (He picks up several diplomas, selects a parchment scroll with seal and ribbon, and presents it to the SCARECROW.) Therefore -- by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Universitatus Committeeatum e pluribus unum, I hereby confer upon you the honorary degree of Th.D. Heh, heh! SCARECROW (terribly impressed) Th.D.? WIZARD Yeah, that ... that's Doctor of Thinkology. SCARECROW (putting his finger to his head) The sum of the square roots of any two sides of an isosceles triangle is equal to the square root of the remaining side. Oh, joy, rapture! I've got a brain! How can I ever thank you enough? WIZARD Well, you can't (122-123)."
Jefferis, Barbara (1967). One Black Summer. New York: Morrow. "GT: Australian novelist with extensive experience of teaching adults. . . . Uses a cultural summer school as the background for a murder (it is surprising that this ideal background was not used earlier. . . Not surprisingly, the victim was a tutor. [Jefferis] makes some penetrating comments on peoples' motives in taking part in liberal adult education. For instance, she observes that some students of creative writing courses lack all the qualities of a writer save one which they possess in abundance -- temperament."
Jolley, Elizabeth (1986). Foxybaby. A hilarious (and at times very serious) novel by this Australian adult educator. Penguin Books. Novelist Alma Porch accepts a teaching position at a month-long seminar cum-fat-farm in Trinity College. There is a 48 minute documentary film available on Jolley made in 1987 by Christina Wilcox called The Nights Belong to the Novelist (Yowie Films, 94 Telopea St., Redfern 2016, Australia), also available on videotape.
Juddery, Bruce (1991). "Unis [Universities] Urged To Be Godmothers To Adult Education." Australian Campus Review Weekly (Paddington, New South Wales), November 28-December 3, pp. 1 & 18. "Higher education has been served a new challenge by a Federal parliamentary committee: to help foster the neglected 'fourth arm' of Australian education, the adult and community education (ACE) sector. Lack of sympathy for ACE provision by some institutions is implied by the Senate Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training, in its report Come In Cinderella, tabled on Wednesday."
Lovett, Tom, editor (1988). Radical Approaches to Adult Education: A Reader. London: Routledge, 311 pp. Contains a Foreword by Myles Horton and 13 chapters including ones by Frank Adams, Budd Hall, and Brian Martin. Topics covered include the Peace Movement, the Environmental Movement, and Workers' Education.
Martin, David (1965). The Hero of Too. Melbourne: Cassell. "[Says GT:] The novelist and poet . . . who occasionally lectures for the Victorian Council of Adult Education. . . . His exquisite satire on Australian bushranger worship. . . . His fictional Tooramit could easily be any number of Australian country towns. Martin's 'intellectual elite of the town' who are 'heirs to a tradition dating back to the Tooramit Mechanics Institute, which now survives only through its library' find refuge in the arts society and the [book] discussion group.' GT then quotes a long passage on the "book discussion group" including that it "is the ladies exclusive preserve." GT adds: "Martin told me later that this passage caused some pain to the Victorian Council of Adult Education."
Martin, Brian (1979). The Bias of Science. Canberra: Society for Social Responsibility in Science, 100 pp.
Martin, Brian (1981). "The Scientific Straitjacket: The Power Structure of Science and the Suppression of Environmental Scholarship." The Ecologist, Vol. 11, January, pp. 33-43. "Dissident scientists in communist countries receive wide publicity for their causes. But what of cases of suppression in the West? How do those who challenge the scientific establishment fare? And why have environmentalists become the chief target of those who seek to preserve the status quo (33). . . .
"The data presented here suggest an explanation for suppression of scientists based on an understanding of the power structure of science. Suppression does occur in a wide range of areas of scientific research and application, from anthropology to engineering to zoology. Tellingly, it occurs most frequently in areas such as environmental studies where opportunities arise for teaching and research which provides a threat to vested interests either inside or outside the scientific community (35)."
Martin, Brian (1984). Uprooting War. London: Freedom Press, 298 pp.
Martin, Brian (1986), et al, editors. Intellectual Suppression: Australian Case Histories, Analysis and Responses. "[From "Notes on Contributors":] Brian Martin was born in 1947, received a B.A. from Rice University (Houston, TX) and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Sydney University. He has worked as a research assistant and research associate doing applied mathematics at the Australian National University since 1976. His many technical scientific papers are mainly in the areas of stratospheric modelling, numerical methods, wind power, and astrophysics. He also has written widely on the critique of science and technology, nuclear power, war and peace issues, and social action, including the books The Bias of Science and Uprooting War. He has been active for many years in environmental and peace movements in Canberra, and has played an important role in publicizing the issues and organizing support in a number of cases of suppression of intellectual dissent (viii)."
Martin, Brian (1989a). "What Should Be Done About Higher Education?" Social Anarchism, No. 14, pp. 30-39. "[After giving examples of one Marxist friend who completed his doctorate then took the apparent anarchist route of leaving the university and working in the community, and of two other anarchist friends who are academicians] I present these examples to illustrate that there is no automatic connection between anarchist beliefs and action in relation to higher education. What should be done about higher education? On the one hand there is the argument for 'deinstitutionalization.' . . . The solution should not be to reform formal education but to get rid of the need for it altogether. Learning and research would instead be integrated into the life of the community. The way to achieve this is by building up alternative forms of learning and research outside the ossified bureaucracies of educational institutions. Another argument accepts this picture but reaches a different conclusion. Yes, the goal should be learning controlled by learners and teachers outside the large credentially bodies. But this is a long term goal. In the meantime there is much that can be done from inside of academia. ... I think both of these arguments have merit. There is no single best path for everyone (30-31). . . .
"The failings of modern higher education are many: > Knowledge is treated as a commodity, passively accepted and absorbed by student consumers. > Classroom experience is organized around the premise that learning results only from being taught by experts. > Knowledge is divided into narrow disciplinary boxes. > Original, unorthodox thoughts by students, and nonconventional choices of subjects and learning methods are strongly discouraged. > Competition prevails over cooperation. > Knowledge and learning are either divorced from social problems or channeled into professional approaches. > Credentials, the supposed symbols of learning, are sought more than learning itself. > Performance in research takes precedence over commitment to teaching. > Most research is narrow, uninspired and mediocre, useful only to other experts or vested interests. > Scholarly openness and cooperation take second place to the academic rat race and power struggle, which involves toadying, back stabbing, aggrandizement of resources and suppression of dissidents. > Original or unconventional thoughts by staff, or action on social issues, are penalized, while narrow conformist thought and action are rewarded (31-32)."
Martin, Brian (1989c). Demarchy; A Democratic Alternative to Electoral Politics. Wollongong East, Australia: By Lot, 16 pp. Available from By Lot, PO Box 492, Wollongong East, NSW 2520, Australia, phone (042) 287-860. "The Basic Idea: The present standard system of representa-tive democracy is based on electing a small number of officials who then make decisions on a wide range of issues. Demarchy, by contrast, is based on a network of numerous decision-mak-ing groups. Each group deals with a specific function, such as transport, land use or health services in a local area. The membership of each body is chosen randomly from all those who volunteer to be on it. Random selection is also called the lot system, the jury system or sortition. Demarchy can also be called statistical democracy (1). . . . The Athenians used the lot system extensively as a democratic means of selection. They were committed to equality, and selection by lot ensured equality of results rather than only equality of opportunity. Members of the assembly were chosen by lot. This reduced factionalism, since factions could not guarantee that their candidates would be chosen (16)."
Martin, Brian (1989d). "Gene Sharp's Theory of Power." Journal of Peace Research, Vol. 26, No. 2, pp. 213-222.
Martin, Brian (1989e). "Why Academics Must Empower Themselves." The Australian, August 9, p. 31. "Amalgamations, in most cases, won't increase efficiency. If they did, why should the Government provide extra funds for them? What they will do is increase managerial hierarchies and reduce the number of independent institutions to be administered from Canberra. This is efficient for the exercise of power from on high, but not for the taxpayer. The reduction in the size of governing bodies, the introduction of research profiles, the diversion of funds to ARC — all these have the same sort of effect: more power to the center. Responding to a power-grab with intellectual refutations of the rationalizations for the grab is quite insufficient.
"... There are some things in academia worth struggling for, I believe, such as service to a wide range of interest groups (not just government and industry), the maintenance of critical perspectives on society, and working relationships based (in part) on collegiality and rational persuasion rather than hierarch and formal authority. These values are not shared by those who seek to administer an even more cumbersome education bureaucracy. . . . There is a need for greater efficiency and accountability in higher education. But efficiency for what, and accountability to whom? The old model of the elitist ivory tower is indefensible. It is the arrogance, hierarchy, ambition and intolerance that are all too common in academia that make it easy to attack from the outside. Academics need to come up with their own models and policies for serving and being accountable to the public."
Martin, Brian (1989f). "Information Sharing Is the Right Way." The Australian, November 14, p. 20.
Martin, Brian (1990). "Democracy Without Elections." Social Alternatives, Vol. 8, No. 4, January, pp. 13-18.
Martin, Brian (1991a). Scientific Knowledge in Controversy: The Social Dynamics of the Flouridation [sic] Debate. With commentary by Edward Groth. Albany, NY: SUNY Press, 266 pp.
Martin, Brian (1991b). "Compulsory Voting: A Useful Target for Anti-State Action?" The Raven, Vol. 4, No. 2, April-June, 130-139.
Martin, Brian, et al (1991c). "Who's a Captive? Who's a Victim? Response to Collin's Method Talk." Science, Technology, & Human Values, Vol. 16, No. 2, Spring, pp. 252-255. A response to an article in the same issue (pp. 249-251): "Captives and Victims: Comment on Scott, Richards, and Martin," which itself was a response to an article by the three in the Fall 1990 issue of the same journal (pp. 474-494): "Captives of Controversy: The Myth of the Neutral Social Researcher in Contemporary Scientific Controversies."
Martin, Brian (1991d). "Gulf War Shows It's Time to Set Our Own Agenda." Peace News (London), July, p. 2.
Martin, Brian (1991e). "Social Defence: Arguments and Actions." Second half of Nonviolent Struggle and Social Defence. Shelley Andersen & Janet Lannore, editors. London: War Resistors International.
Martin, Brian (1991f). "Knowledge and Power in Academia." Rabelais, August, pp. 12-13, & 33.
Martin, Brian (1991g). Campus Views from Wollongong, No. 1, October 6. Martin edits this as a result of an initiative by the "Reform Group at the University of Wollongong."
Martin, Brian (1991h. "Students Prey to Staff Harassment: Sex Must Be Banned." The Australian, October 23, p. 23.
Modra, Helen (1989). "Peace Begins with Me: Some Thoughts on Pedagogy and Violence." Education Links 36 (Australia), Winter, No. 36, pp. 27-29. "The fact that there is always a gap between what I believe in and what happens in my classes, really disturbs me.... Why did I push the undergraduates so hard, last Thursday, that I gave myself a migraine? ... Why did I almost lose my temper the day two dozen 18 year olds found it difficult to concentrate on an audiocassette for 40 minutes? ... What can I say to a mature age student who is beginning to explore her own difficulties around the issue of control, when I have such control over her, as the-party-who-awards-grades-unilaterally? ... And how can I reconcile my commitment to liberation theology with my failure, so often, to see the suffering of my own students and my own part in this? ...
"Does education recognize the role of sense, of feeling? Do we as teachers pay heed? When I give myself a migraine in class I am alienated from my senses. When dominated by my own drivenness I am hardly aware of students. They are not a sensible presence. Not just my own well-being then, but the very possibility of community, requires the healing of the body/mind dualism... [M.R.] O'Reilley ["The Peaceable Classroom," College English, Feb. 1984, pp. 103-112] asks ... Can we discover the seeds of war in the interactions of the typical college classroom where, for most of us, our treasures lie? ... Pedagogic violence is still violence and is endemic even in the 'best' classrooms: in teachers' passion for control... What can I say to a mature age student who is beginning to explore her own difficulties around the issue of control, when I have such control over her, as the-party-who-awards-grades-unilaterally?" Write Helen Modra at School of Education, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia 3217."
Modra, Helen (1991). Letter to author. December 13. "Helen Gribble is one of Australia's leaders in women's education, in my view. She helped to create what is now The Network for Women in Further Education as a breakaway from the main Australian adult education body which seems to keep a low profile on feminist views. A gifted and courageous woman who has done an enormous amount for women's education."
Moorhouse, Frank (1976). Conference-ville. Sydney: Angus & Robertson. Academic conferences have never been so satirized as in this novel by the Australian free-lance writer. See also his views on conferences as "social rituals" in Sideways from the Page. Melbourne: Fontana Books, 1983. And his life in the 1970s in Days of Wine and Rage. Ringwood: Penguin Books Australia, 1980.
Ohliger, John (1985). Spoilers of Liberty: The Case Against Mandatory Continuing Education. Talk to Monash University (Australia), 6 pages. $3.00 from Basic Choices.
Ohliger, John (1987a). The Learner in the Community. Talk to a joint national conference of adult educators' and librarians' associations in Australia in October 1987. 20 pages. $5.00 from Basic Choices.
Ohliger, John (1987b). Mandatory Continuing Education. Presented at a conference on "Continuing Professional Education -- Policy and Provision" at The University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales, Australia, October 7-9, 1987. Proceedings edited by Darryl Dimock and available for sale, info from Basic Choices. "I am going to be engaging in a number of very critical remarks about Mandatory Continuing Education, but I recognize -- and I don't feel bad about it -- that I am a hypocrite. In the 60s that used to be the greatest sin that you could commit. But now when I teach in the universities in the United States, there are frequently students in those classes who are forced to be there. I do not throw them out. You can't make your living at what I'm doing today. But, I make my living working 20 hours a week as a clerk in a library in Madison, Wisconsin. Just before I came here I was presented with a job description, which I signed fairly quickly. It says that I will engage in Mandatory Continuing Education as part of my job. So, I hope you understand that I am fully implicated in what I am bemoaning. I think of this kind of hypocrisy as a venial, excusable sin and I hope it points as much to a desire for a better world as it masks the disparities between preaching and practice."
Ohliger, John (1987c). A Stranger in Oz. Distributed after returning from 45 day trip [to] Australia arranged by Helen Modra. "Have only been back from Australia (called OZ by some there) since the first of the month and am still recovering from the jet lag, excitement, fun, different context, good fellowship, weird new sights, and constantly changing weather, planes, trains, cabs, streetcars ("trams" in Melbourne), places to stay, and faces. Had 45 engagements in as many days though they were bunched together, so I had a few days free to sight-see, swim, haunt bookstores, walk, and engage with very interesting people (especially strong, vital, intelligent women who seem to have developed unique, off-center, and friendly ways of dealing with what appears at first glance to be a heavily male dominant culture). A few of my many fleeting memories and impressions:
"> Sign on a pub in early October: PLAN YOUR XMAS PARTY NOW! ONLY 12 WEEKS TO GO.> Public pay telephone booths so large at least two people can fit in. >Drinking "Invalid Stout" (tastes like a carbonated Guinness). > Sign in a public library: YOU TALK, YOU DIE! (reported by a librarian). > Having my picture taken holding a live Tasmanian Devil, while a friendly Wombat nibbles at my shoes. > A magpie protecting its young swooped down out of a tree, surprising but not hurting me, when it attacked my head from behind while I was walking along. > Staying in Taroworth Ln New South Wales which calls itself the Country Music Capital of Australia and has two magpies on its coat of arms. > The comparatively large number of ex-priests, ex-nuns, and liberal lay Catholics active in adult education. > Visiting a farm and seeing sheep being sheared in the company of an adult educator who used to shear sheep for a living. > Riddle from five year old Francis Mary: "Why did the lollies go to school? So they could become smarties." (Lollies and smarties are both types of candies or "sweets"). > "School" in Australia also means a place where you gamble (as in "hazard school" or "two-up school"— see Frank Hardy's once banned, classic novel Power without Glory ). > The University of New South Wales placed its computer center on the top floor of its highest building to avoid damage in case of student demonstrations, I was told, thus adding great expense whenever large computers were hauled up or down. > Eating french fried octopus, marinated kangaroo steak, Tasmanian scallops, and lots of other good fish and seafood. But couldn't find much popcorn or any corn on the cob. > Staying in several "grannie flats" (small apartments added on to houses). > Staying in the town of Wagga Wagga which is proud to consider itself the "hay fever capital of the world" because it has fields full of a wild flower called Paterson's Curse or Salvation Jane.
"The only thing that really bugged me (besides not finding any "laid-back" Australians, though I was told in advance they were all that way) was the stated and unstated feeling of inferiority some showed. It's called by them "The Australian Cringe," and is most frequently expressed either in words like "we're well-behind the Americans (or the British or the Japanese)" or in hostile jokes directed at those who are probably responsible for, or at least benefit from, the imposed inferior status (e.g. What do you get when you cross a pig with an American? Nothing, there are some things a pig won't do). The damnable idea that the world is all one big marketplace so everybody must fit into it seems even stronger there than here, and places people in a vise when it comes to finding legitimate community."
Ohliger, John, et al (1987d). Too Much Education? Forty-five minute broadcast panel in November with educators, physicians, and bureaucrats taking differing views. Speakers from Melbourne, Sydney, Madison and elsewhere presented over Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 45 minutes. $8.50 from Basic Choices.
Ohliger, John (1990). Take a Social Philosopher to Lunch This Week. Talk to the Social Philosophy Luncheon, American Association for Adult & Continuing Education (AAACE) National Conference in Salt Lake City. 60 pages, 600 item bibliography. $12.00 "A letter from Brian Martin, a radical Australian adult educator originally from the U.S., arrived just as I was starting to write this talk. His letter cleared up a lot of confusion. Martin asks first:
'Are you concerned about the use of the word [activism], or about what people actually do, or about their attitudes to what people do? That makes a big difference.'
"Brian continues: 'In terms of words, I don't use 'activism' so much, but rather 'social action,' 'nonviolent action,' or more specific terms such as 'rally' and 'sit-in.' As to what people do, I'd say the evidence isn't conveniently available about 'social action' generally. Does Ku Klux Klan action in the 1950s count? Anti-abortion protests? McCarthyism? There are figures in certain measurable areas such as arrests of anti-nuclear protesters, which have remained at high levels in the United States: 1989 was the biggest year yet accord ing to The Nuclear Resister.'
"Martin ends: 'As for attitudes to what people do, my perception is that extraparliamentary direct action is accepted by many more people today -- including authorities -- as a legitimate form of protest, or at least as not a fundamental threat to the survival of society.' Well, I hope that Brian Martin's letter was as helpful for you as it was for me.
"From his letter I conclude that 'activism' is an over-simplified and confusing word. Also my personal conclusion is that 'activism' is a self-righteous word. We use it to put down other people who aren't doing what we think they ought to be doing or -- heaven forbid -- don't appear to be doing anything at all. I should know, I've been using 'activism' as a stick to beat over the heads of adult educators I disagreed with for many years. But I don't think it works anymore, if it ever did. Most of the people I railed against were those folks who wanted to turn adult education into a so-called profession. I complained they weren't 'activists.' Actually, they were far more activist than I was, with their energetic social movement to convert adult education into a power base for anti-democratic expertise."
Pedley, Ethel (1899). Dot and the Kangaroo. Sydney: publisher?, 1899. First read excerpts of this in The Australian Collection; Australia's Greatest Books, by Geoffrey Dutton (North Ryde, NSW, Australia: Angus & Robertson, 1985), which whet my appetite for this "children's" book which makes the point that "It is not right that [humans] should learn too much." Got the "commemorative edition" published in 1986 by Angus & Robertson.
"'You must not eat any more of those berries,' said the Kangaroo, anxiously. 'Why?' asked Dot. 'They are very nice, and I'm very hungry.' The Kangaroo gently took the spray out of Dot's hand and threw it away. 'You see,' she said, 'If you eat too many of them, you'll know too much.' 'One can't know too much,' argued the little girl. 'Yes, you can, though,' said the Kangaroo, quickly. 'If you eat too many of those berries, you'll learn too much, and that gives you indigestion, and then you become miserable. I don't want you to be miserable any more, for I'm going to find your "lost way".'" (59 in The Australian Collection which comments on the same page: "All the great children's books can be read by people of all ages, for what comes naturally as fantasy to a child can also liberate the imagination in an adult fed all day on harsh reality. However, Dot and the Kangaroo is most unusual in that it quite deliberately refers fantasy back to reality. It is meant to make both children and their parents think about what today is considered to be a very modern issue -- conservation)"...
From the book itself [obtained from The Australian Book Source, % Susan Curry, 1309 Redwood Lane, Davis, CA 95616, phone (916) 753-1519]: [Said the Platypus,] "That's the way Humans amuse themselves. They write books about things they don't understand, and each new book says all the others are wrong. It's a silly game (28)."
Pittman, Von & John Ohliger (1989). "Adult Education and Works of the Imagination: A New Direction in Research." Adult Education Research Commission Meeting, Madison WI, University of Wisconsin. "Abstract: In this retrospective on works of the imagination relating to adult education, the authors review the research to date, consider the systematic, impressionistic, and direct -- or "participatory" -- research approaches, and conclude that the metaphor of the rainbow and its pot of gold is appropriate to characterize their differences. . . . FROM TEXT: The first fiction-based research in adult education appeared in 1974, in works by Whitelock and Tremor. Whitelock, in a book drawn from an earlier graduate thesis, cites three Australian novels written in the 1960s by authors with personal experience teaching and administering adult education programs. Two of the novels 'make some penetrating comments on peoples' motives in taking part in liberal adult education (GT, 313-314). Tremor's citation packed and innovative -- if not bizarre -- dissertation advances the idea that the study of novels in the science fiction and Utopian genres can help adult educators imagine alternative views of the future, then help people prepare themselves for a vastly different world."
Power, Hilton (1987). "Empowerment, No! Advocacy, Yes!" His speech to the Social Philosophy Luncheon at the American Association for Adult & Continuing Education Convention in Washington, DC. Hilton told those assembled, "You are part of the mainstream now, a far cry from a few years ago. But the mainstream has its dangers. Recall the words in the Australian national anthem, 'Waltzing Matilda' — 'beside a billabong.' A billabong is a body of water left behind after the mainstream has moved. Let's not be complacent. Should the river change will it take a new course or return to the old?" For a free copy of this great six page talk write Hilton at 50 Shawmut Street, Lewiston, ME 04240.
Trinca, Helen (1991). "Back-to-School Adults Get a Hand from Class Act." The Australian, November 28, p. 13. "If ever a sector needed a touch of the Dawkins, it is adult education. The federal Minister for Employment, Education and Training has his faults but he also has the happy knack of identifying as issue and getting it on the national agenda. Lately he's turned his attention to TAFE [Technical and Further Education], managing through just one or two statements to give that sector the sort of political profile it's been struggling to achieve for years. For adult education, as for TAPE, developing a profile is half the battle, and John Dawkins may very well be its champion.
"The groundwork has been laid for him in the sensible report on adult and community education released yesterday by the Senate Standing Committee on Employment, Education and Training headed by Senator Terry Aulich. The committee has concentrated on developing advisory processes at the highest Commonwealth levels so that national recognition and a coherent policy might emerge about what is one of the messier areas of education.
"Messy because it does not fit into any clear categories. Adult education, like TAFE at times, defies easy definition. It is not generally beloved of bureaucrats. As one source said yesterday, they "tend to write it off as "knitting for menopausal women."' But adult education is far more than that. It's an enormous resource ripe for harvesting by employers and governments facing all the late 20th century problems of retraining and reskilling.
"... sometime in the past 20 years or so, adult education got lost as we pushed towards a mass system of higher education and a formal qualification became an essential passport to work and promotion. The informal world of adult ed, where people of all ages could study anything from conversational Italian to Middle East politics and walk away without an exam and without a credential, didn't seem to fit any more. Self-educated people were no longer the go. The activity didn't stop - in fact it accelerated. But it dropped out of political and media view and the sector became increasingly reliant on money from users."
Williamson, David (1975). The Department. Play by the Australian author about some meetings in an academic department. Sydney: Currency Press, 1975. "[FROM THE INTRODUCTION BY RODNEY FISHER:] The drab, colorless, dusty mezzanine with its maze of endless pipes, perched uneasily above a thermodynamics laboratory, is a metaphor for the dehumanised void of bureaucrat!zed education. The academic staff meet there, an embattled minority obsessed with trivia (v)."
LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH BRIAN MARTIN IN WOLLONGONG 11/13/91
J: You know, you did that chapter on adult education a couple years ago. Well, I guess I've had the impression from letters that I've had from a couple people at the Council for Adult Education in Melbourne and that fellow at the University, that technical university in Sydney, that finances are much tighter now.
B: In the universities, that's quite correct. What's happened is that the central government from about 1987 has essentially moved in various ways to take greater control over higher education, including very strong pressures to amalgamate institutions, putting together previous institutions, mainly aimed at vocational training, and turning them into parts of universities, dictating profiles for research and taking greater control over finances. And that process has still been continuing.
J: Is it accelerating?
B: It's continuing. Probably the roost chaotic aspect is the amalgamations, the most obvious aspect, because it's just causing incredible tensions and backfighting, and all the rest within the institutions.
J: And I imagine this is affecting whatever direction adult education is taking?
B: Well, I mean, adult education, as far as I've seen in the open rhetoric, is a forgotten aspect, because the main aim in this is to orient higher education to the so called national interest, which basically means government and big business.
J: I see. So adult education in the informal sense, a liberal education, is forgotten then, in these plans.
B: Yes, it's off the agenda, and so there's very strong pressures to get research monies, you know, as much as possible, from outside bodies, rather than from the normal academic channels.
J: Do you see this as, in some ways, an imitation of the direction that they feel the United States is going in or gone in, or is this based on some independent evaluation?
B: I think it's shaped not by the U.S. very much at all, shaped by the general orientation within the government which is, in principle, a labor government, although it's been implementing the so called economic rationalist policies since elected in '83. It's basically in that same direction to introduce so called market principles, but in a way which essentially means the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
J: But I just saw Roger and Me, I don't know if you've heard of that, the video tape.
B: I've heard of it.
J: It's a very good example of how that's happening in this country, with General Motors.
B: Yes. I've heard of it but I haven't seen it yet.
J: It's very much worthwhile, I think, if you can get a copy of it. It's available on video tape now. What about the area you wrote about in radical adult education? As I recall, you know it's been a while since I read that chapter, but you seemed to think some good things were happening when you wrote that chapter.
B: Well, if it's the one I'm thinking of, this is the one about the environmental issues, is that right?
J: Yes, yes.
B: Yes, well I mean, I was basically looking at it, I suppose, from the wider prospective of what's going on in social movements, not necessarily seen as part of the education scene at all.
J: But it is, in the broader sense, educational in your view?
B: Oh, certainly. And, so I think, yes, I mean from looking at it from the point of view of the official higher education sector, things, there are pluses and minuses, but a lot of it's very much in terms of centralizing control. In terms of social movements, things have not been too good either, mainly because the economic climate has been very depressed, and so there's sort of a feeling of retreat in the face of the government pressure, sort of economic rationalism ideology that's been sweeping the country.
J; So the environmental movement has lost some of it's steam?
B: The environmental movement is probably as strong as ever in many ways. But even symptomatic of what's going on is that we've got, for example, in the state of Tasmania, there are five independent environmental members of parliament, and they hold the balance of power in the coalitionist labor government. But the Tasmanian government is nevertheless -- now the Labor and Liberals -- mainly the main two parties are going to combine to force through this so-called resource security legislation, which is designed to speed up the process by which new and industrial developments are approved.
J: Which will have a bad effect on the environment?
B: Ah, yes, the environmentalists are very much opposed. And the whole point is the economic recession is providing this pretext to push industrial development at the extent of the environment. It's really a pretext, because I don't think these things are really going to affect the economics very much.
J; I see, and that's not only in Tasmania, but in other parts of Australia as well, then?
B: No, well, the federal government's passed a similar sort of legislation with the agreement of the main trade union body, so it's a typical sort of problem. I mean, their legislation isn't as draconian as the Tasmanian.
J: Could I ask you one more question? I know I'm interrupting your busy day, and I really appreciate ...
B: That's all right, John. Pardon me if I sort of... when you're asking questions on tape, I sort of go into a lecture mode.
J: Well that's helpful. It's easy to quote that way. And I do want to thank you for all your suggestions on that talk. I guess you got my letter with the talk and with the short version. I just want to ask you one final question. Basically, I would like you to say what you think should happen, both with the more formal areas of adult education and the more informal area of, say, environmental education or peace education. What would you like to see in both of those areas, and in terms of your vision?
B: I think what I'd like to see is: A combination of the people working in the universities, in a formal sector, in these things, and the people working on the outside in social movements. Not necessarily some sort of formal collaboration, but much greater interaction there. And a, instead of sort of defending against these changes that are going on, in terms of the economy and reorganization itself, instead of defending against them by saying we want the old pure university doing pure research, instead saying no, we want research, teaching, learning, oriented to the community, you know, community involvement; in other words challenging both the sort of orientations which have been dominant in the debate, the one orientation which is sort of the academic orientation, the other being sort of government priorities and business priorities, and really challenging both of those rather than just joining that debate.
J: Well, that's ... I certainly join with you in that hope. Do you have any objection to me saying that some people in Australia call the country Oz? ...
B: John, that doesn't offend Australians at all.
J: Good. Well, it's nice to talk, Brian. I hope things are going well with you. I talked to Kathy briefly, because first I got your home phone number corrected, and she gave me your new business number. You are still a professor in that area of technical, scientific and technical studies?
B: Yeah, I'm not a professor in Australian terminology.
J: What are you in Australian terminology?
B: A lecturer.
J: A lecturer, ok, I just want to be sure to get it right. Now, you don't mind if I refer to your past experience briefly, but make clear that you're an Australian citizen? You don't consider yourself an American ...
B: I've now spent half my life in Australia. So, you can call me whatever you like, John, I don't mind.
J: Ok. I clarified that in the Social Philosophy talk. You sent me a clarification on that, and I'll follow that. Well, thank you very much. This has been very helpful, Brian. And I'll send you a copy of the talk, of the column. It's not going to be very long, it's under a thousand words, but I wanted to try to get something current.
B: Ok, I'm actually going down to Melbourne in a few days from now, so hopefully, I'll see Helen Modra.
J: Well, I hope you will. I talked ... she doesn't feel that she's been keeping up on adult education, she recommended I talk to Helen Gribble, but we've been corresponding a great deal, so I hope you will say hello to her.
LONG DISTANCE TELEPHONE INTERVIEW WITH HELEN GRIBBLE IN MELBOURNE, 11/14/91
J: OK, the recording's on now. Actually, what I'm simply trying to get a feel for, first, maybe you could tell me, Helen Modra said that you are head of, or a member of a particular women's group in Australia?
H: Yes, that's called The Network for Women in Further Education.
J: That was The Women in Further Education?
H: Yes, well there are 5 words that are commonly used in Australia. One is adult education, community education and further education. The adult is, I suppose, most commonly used for that broad liberal tradition of adult education that we know about in the Kingdom of Great Britain. Community education further reflects that movement of the 1960's and '70's which looked at programs which were generated from local communities, and which often had an element of that liberal adult education tradition. Further education, you see, is a term that's come in in the last two decades ???? technical and further education in Australia. Do you know about the TAFE colleges?
J: They were just getting formed, I think, in their early stages when I was there. I visited one in Sydney.
H: There was a report, I think the date was 1974, that recommended the establishment of a separate vocational education system which would be delivered through TAFE colleges, but that it should happen in conjunction with what that report called "further education", and, in fact, what that's become is a mixture of the adult education, user-paid, broad, non-certificate courses, but as well they've become the substantial provision now through the colleges of basic education through the year twelve for pre-tertiary qualification.
J: And you're the Chair of this network?
H: Well, no, I'm the secretary.
J: I'm interested in your views on what is the state of adult education today, how is it changed in any specific areas, and what direction should it be going?
H: I guess that I must say that in the 1980's it was -- the reason, I guess, why the Network of Women in Further Education was established arose out of the view that since 80% of the participants, that's the tutors and those who organize classes, are women in adult education. It was astounding to many of us that issues to do with with women and women's learning were not being addressed. It was quite clear, that really for the last hundred years, that this was the case, but you would never know that women were the predominant users of adult education from the kind of debate that's gone on. I would suggest that, if you look at the program for the conference you're going to attend, you wouldn't get that sort of impression from looking at the conference [AUSTRALIA: WILL IT WORK?]... I'll be attending.
J: You were talking about how 80% of the participants in adult education are women ...
H: We're certainly very interested in all issues of the content and teaching methodology which are going to impinge on women. The other thing that Australians now realize about adult, community and further education is that women use that sector of education as a way into either employment or further study. Although a lot of the education is -- and I think this is true of the liberal adult education tradition, that it is geared toward reinforcing conventional and stereotypical views of what the role of women is in society, that is to support the men and primarily providing services through the home. If you look at the adult education programs, you can't help but come away with the view that that's what a substantial part of what adult education's about, but as far as further education's concerned, women are using that stream of adult education for engaging in serious study with very serious and long term objectives, directed at changing their lives. Our network is particularly interested in the interface, again, between adult education, or further education, and further study and opportunities for work and employment and, therefore, income earnings. That's really why we formed our association. We were originally part of the Australian Association for Adult and Community Education. That's why we decided to go it alone. I must say I find the the culture of the AAACE is still fairly conservative in its views. But you can see from that conference [AUSTRALIA: WILL IT WORK?] that the minds of Australians are very much bent toward what the relationship is between what they're doing and work, and that's got a lot to do with the position Australians take, and with the national effort that's been put into, well, creating what our politicians call a clever country or more capable country, looking really hard at what the contribution aspect ... what makes Australia a more capable and effective ... what makes the work force more effective.
J: Do you think this direction the government's going in now is going to be helpful to the women in your network?
H: That's a good question. I don't know. They have just released a really important report. This report is obviously going to set the agenda for vocational education for the next decade. I think that it is a good report, and what it advocates is a convergence of general education with vocational education. I'll expand on what I mean by that . . . The report is saying that now the capacity to think analytically and synthesize ideas and solve problems and communicate well are all crucial, really, in all jobs, and so vocational education has to now incorporate a much stronger element of that kind of education. Now that's the kind of education that adult education has, at least in its rhetoric, said we should be giving adults. There's a coming together, I guess, of those two systems.
J: Do you think that's going to happen?
H: Well, I don't know. I have doubts about the capacity of a system that's been geared up to teach in an entirely different way, to give effect to those sorts of goals. But, at least, the government has said that's what the goals ought to be, and that's significant. . . Whether women will get much access to that through the formal system, again, I think it will be a great struggle. This will be difficult. Women have always found it very hard to get into that system, maybe they haven't wanted to, but they certainly have not been there, and it's going to take a considerable shift in the way it operates before we're going to get access to it.
J: My impression, when I was in Australia, is that it's an even more male dominant society than the United States.
H: Yes, it's often said that that's the case. Except that, in some ways, feminists have done better in Australia, because there's a history of stronger social feminism, and women have been much, much more effective than in America engaging certain, in terms of traditions, I think, in the area of what women have failed to gain ????, so it's in the area of child care, maternity leave and so on. . . .
J: Well, this has been very helpful. I think you've answered all my questions, because I think now I see where you'd like it to go, and you have some questions about whether it will go in the direction that you hope it will; but if this report becomes effective, and women do get an opportunity, then it would be going in a direction you would like it to go. Is that correct?
H: Yes, that's true, and I think that women may be more attracted to that system because it will give them what they getting from further education. There's a good chance that that might happen, but who knows? ...
J: You've been very helpful. I'm sorry to hold you up from getting to work...
H: Oh, that's quite all right, it's a pleasure to talk to you.
Adult and Continuing Education Today • December 9, 1991
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