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Title: Telling and Listening: Reconnecting people's learning with their lives... and society
Contributor(s): Thomas, Eryn (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2015
Open Access: Yes
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Abstract: Listening to people's stories has helped to change one researcher's (mine) perspectives on adult learning, as well as the interconnections between life, learning and society. This presentation will discuss how my research into the everyday life experiences of six people as a potential site of important learning has led to a shift away from interests about educators, curriculum and externally set learning goals, towards a concern with what people actually learn in the course of their lives. Essentially my research started with the everyday lived realities of people's lives and, throughout the process strove to connect the life and learning experiences of these people with wider social and historical processes and an extensive and wide range of interconnected adult learning research. This was achieved through the use of a 'patchworked' theoretical approach informed by life history and biographical approaches alongside feminist standpoint theories and a range of mixed, disparate theories, metaphors and models on learning used alongside the data to analyse both the existing research and the collected data. Using this approach, the stories of these six people helped to direct my attention to what people learn in their day to day lives and away from what I think people should be learning. By locating and exploring the lives of these individuals within wider social and historical processes and relations, I have been able to then link this question of what people learn to a series of other important and potentially transformative questions: - What circumstances have led to these people needing to learn those things? What does this tell me about our world? And then further - what contributions can these experiences and knowledges make to our societies? What might people want to do about what they are experiencing and coming to know? And lastly: what role/s can I as an adult educator play in supporting them to do this? In essence, I argue that approaches such as life history and narrative techniques are powerful and integral strategies for recentering adult learning research, theory, practice and policy back onto people and their lives, and opens up important critical opportunities for reconnecting people, what they learn and know with their societies.
Publication Type: Conference Publication
Conference Name: ESREA Life History and Biography Network Annual Conference: "Stories that make a difference", Milan, Italy, 5th - 8th March, 2015
Conference Details: ESREA Life History and Biography Network Annual Conference: "Stories that make a difference", Milan, Italy, 5th - 8th March, 2015
Source of Publication: ESREA Life History and Biography Network Annual Conference Presented Papers, p. 1-8
Publisher: ESREA: European Society for Research on the Education of Adults
Place of Publication: Milan, Italy
Field of Research (FOR): 139999 Education not elsewhere classified
Peer Reviewed: Yes
HERDC Category Description: E1 Refereed Scholarly Conference Publication
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