SDL and Not Going to College for Minority Students
How might socioeconomic status and/or being a minority youth shape learners’ SDL paths? In this article, Joni Schwartz presents a case of a young black Richard Osborne’s choice of SDL instead of going to college to achieve his life and professional goals. Schwartz points out that SDL is criticized for ignoring the contexts of learning, while critical race theory considers larger social circumstances for minority youth in education. Both theoretical lenses are helpful to understand minority youth’s SDL journeys.
In the interview, Osborne challenged the popular idea in the Black community that “You have to go to college.” He explained
“My big qualm with this notion is that it has taken an almost superstitious tone vis-a`-vis “If you don’t want to be poor, go to college.” The subtext easily implied is “ . . . because you’re worthless without a degree.”
Not having time and financial resources to go to college, he decided to find his own path via self-directed learning and found that SDL is the most effective approach to prepare him in the professional world and later to establish his own business.
While his case might not apply to all minority youths, Osborne encouraged black youths to explore various learning options, be a lifelong learner, and be aware of college student loan issues.
SDL is not only about personal motivation. Social contexts shape how people choose their learning paths. This article presents a good case to illustrate this point.