The COVID-19 pandemic as disjuncture: Lifelong learning in a context of fear.

Bjursell C

Int Rev Educ - (-) 1-17 [2020-10-30; online 2020-10-30]

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused a number of fundamental changes in different societies, and can therefore be understood as creating "disjuncture" in our lives. Disjuncture is a concept proposed by adult educator Peter Jarvis to describe the phenomenon of what happens when an individual is confronted with an experience that conflicts with her/his previous understanding of the world. Faced with a situation that creates disjuncture, the person is compelled to find new knowledge and new ways of doing things; i.e., he/she must embark on a learning process. The recent introduction of social distancing as a measure aiming to reduce transmission of the COVID-19 virus has dramatically changed people's behaviour, but this measure does not only have preventive and desirable effects. There is an associated risk for increased isolation among the older generations of the population, as well as a change in intergenerational relationships. Although the current pandemic (as disjuncture) may potentially initiate major learning processes in the human collective, we should remember that disjuncture is often theorised within neutral, or even positive, contexts. In a context of fear, however, learning may result in a narrowing of mindsets and a rejection of collective efforts and solidarity between generations. In terms of the types of learning triggered by the current pandemic (as disjuncture), one problem is non-reflective learning, which primarily occurs on a behavioural level. We need to recognise this and engage in reflective learning if we are to make the choices that will lead to a society that is worth living in for all generations. Our goal must be to learn to be a person in a post-pandemic society.

Type: Journal article

PubMed 33144741

DOI 10.1007/s11159-020-09863-w

Crossref 10.1007/s11159-020-09863-w

pii: 9863
pmc: PMC7596631


Publications 7.1.2