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Hase, S 2000, 'Capability and coping in the new millennium: a new challenge for education', paper presented to Universities, Colleges and Sustainable Health: a 21st Century Investment Conference, Preston, UK, 4-6 September.


One of the great challenges for all levels of compulsory and post-compulsory education is to help people develop the capacity to cope well within a highly turbulent environment. This challenge is evident in the face of mounting evidence that individuals, organisations and communities are, in fact, not coping at all and are developing major signs of dysfunction. My experience and research as a psychotherapist and educator suggests that we could move towards more process oriented learning strategies that will provide people with lifelong skills for managing stressful events, rapidly changing work environments and the local effects of the global community. The term heutagogy has been coined to provide a rationale for these strategies as an alternative to both pedagogical and andragogical approaches to education (Hase and Kenyon, 2000). One recent perspective that has helped develop this concept of heutagogy is that of Capability (eg Cairns & Hase, 1996 and Stephenson & Weil, 1992). Capable people are creative, know how to learn, can use competencies in novel as well as familiar circumstances, have high self-efficacy, work well with others, and have appropriate guiding values for action. It is suggested that Capable people are able to deal with the stresses of the new millennium better than others who do not possess these attributes. This paper draws on Systems Theory, Capability and the emerging concept of Heutagogy to describe why we should, and how we can, help develop Capable people in our educational, and particularly our higher education, systems.

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