Critical Theory, Non-Western, Postmodern, and Feminist Perspectives in Adult Learning

I agree with Ryan’s argument on the impact of English among non-western students. I believe that the use of English as a universal language in education is becoming challenging, as a language should be a form of identity. Usher, Bryant, and Johnstone (1997) explain that telling non-westerners to use English in their day to day lives is a form of colonialism as westerners have used English as a measure of intelligence. Personally, I wonder how an intelligent and qualified student is denied university or college admission based on English proficiency tests like TOEFL. Such a system tends to equate brilliance and intelligence to proficiency in spoken language where some of the students are better in written English than in spoken English.

Following a postmodernism argument, Ryan is for the argument that important learning should be intrinsic to the learner and not extrinsic. This is in line with Andreotti’s (2009) argument who adds that an intrinsic form of learning results to the development of capacities for individual needs and sustainable society. In comparison to pre-modern society, an individual attained their identity through status and their role was fixed and predetermined. This is contrary to modernism argument, which states that a person’s identity is based on their function in society. However, in postmodernism, the definition of self is based on postmodernists where a teacher is required to identify the connections for the student to their true self. 

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The strategies for solving these issues should be through the identification of intention. Through this, it will be possible for students to self-direct their learning through the application of meta-dialogue. In this, each student should be treated as an individual market where they are required to formulate their individual learning strategy. In this strategy, teachers or educators will support the students with resources and support to help them achieve their goals. In such a strategy, non-westerners are likely to enjoy similar privileges in learning institution without bias from post-modernism models. 


Andreotti, V. (2009). Global education in the’21st century’: Two different perspectives on the ‘post-‘ of postmodernism. International Journal of Development Education and Global Learning2(2), 5-22. 

Usher, R., Bryant, I., & Johnston, R. (1997). Adult Education and the Postmodern Challenge. Learning beyond the Limits. Routledge, 7625 Empire Drive, Florence, KY 41042.

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