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“We Must Believe in Ourselves”: Attitudes and Experiences of Adult Learners With Disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

“We Must Believe in Ourselves”: Attitudes and Experiences of Adult Learners With Disabilities in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa


Many adults with disabilities in South Africa never had a chance to attend school or dropped out at an early age because of poverty and discrimination. This article investigates the attitudes and experiences of adults with disabilities regarding education. It draws on an interactional model of disability and an embodied understanding of cognition as theoretical frames. The study attempted to adopt an emancipatory action research approach that involved persons with disabilities in conceptualizing and conducting the research. It found that adults with disabilities had generally negative experiences of education as children but a strong desire to learn as adults. Involvement in collective learning and action has the potential to transform the body images and self-efficacy of adults with disabilities. The research findings suggest a perspective on adults with disabilities as potentially powerful and resourceful learners and citizens.
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