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Towards a Typology of General Aims of Christian Adult Education

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This article deals with the variety of general aims of Christian adult education in a pluralist society. The authors propose a theoretical framework of possible aims to Christian adult education. This framework consists of two dimensions: a formal dimension consisting of the goals or orientations of Christian adult education, and a material dimension that concerns the content of the (religious) identity formed by the education process. Based on these two dimensions a typology of aims to Christian adult education is presented. This typology proved to be very helpful in describing the mindset of Christian adult educators within the Catholic Church in the Netherlands. The empirical research shows that these educators have a positive attitude with regard to educational orientations of self-direction and transformation. Educational aims focussing on the supra-personal aspect of religious identity are largely rejected. This may give rise to tensions considering the institutional context in which Christian adult educators carry out their work.

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