Recognising health care assistants' prior learning through a caring ideology
Summary, in English
This article critically appraises a process of recognising prior learning (RPL) using analytical tools from Habermas' theory of communicative action. The RPL process is part of an in-service training program for health care assistants where the goal is to become a licensed practical nurse. Data about the RPL process were collected using interviews and observations. Through appraising RPL as a social practice, it is held that the process progresses through a 'caring ideology'. The caring ideology is the foundation that makes it possible to build up health care assistants' trust in teachers' authority. In this process, the teachers, by means of strategic actions, become the possessors of (the validity claim) truth. From this starting point, the assistants' prior experiences are strategically acknowledged in two ways: by affective comments 'recognising' their identity/personality and by generating a grade in the courses for which their prior learning is being accredited. The findings show that the lifeworld of these workers is assimilated and colonised through the RPL process and important issues such as power, gender and class are not accounted for. These matters should not be left out in research on caring practices performed by women from low socio-economic groups. These issues must be included if RPL processes are not merely assumed to systematically and uncritically reproduce an existing normative discourse. Based on the RPL practice analysed here, it is proposed that a more reflexive, emancipatory and communicative RPL process could play a central role in the development and enlightenment of health care assistants.
- Caring ideology
- Health care assistant
- Recognition of prior learning
- Theory of communicative action
- ISSN: 1874-785X