Participatory Workplace Education: Resisting Fear- Driven Models
The workplace is a complex teaching context. Like the rest of the world, it is full of contradictions and mixed messages. Employers acknowledge that their outmoded ways of organizing work have kept workers from developing their potential, but blame workers for not having the skills needed for the workplace of the 21st century. The new culture of work teams offers workers long-awaited opportunities to make decisions, but allows them little authority to carry them out. And companies tell workers that participation in education programs is an important show of worker initiative, but offer few or inconsistent opportunities for workers to demonstrate or be rewarded for what they learn. Each of these examples spells disappointment for workers, as employer promises turn out to be, essentially, more rhetoric than substance.