Using Biographical and Life History Approaches in the Study of Adult and Lifelong Learning: European Perspectives
Edited By Linden West, Peter Alheit, Anders Siig Anderson and Barbara Merrill
11 Leaming, Language and Transition
1 1 Leaming, Language and Transition Agnieszka Bron All immigrants and exiles know the peculiar restlessness of an imagination that can never again havefaith in its own absoluteness. Ewa Hoffinan ( 1 989, p. 275) While talking to adults in different circumstances, and over cultural and national borders, in everyday life encounters, in teaching and researching, I have often heard statements dealing emotionally and cognitively with the issues of cultural changes involving language, class and gen der. The awareness of belonging to a certain social strata, national group or gender, and the problems one faces while coping with one ' s identity is often stated and commented upon in the stories people tel l . One interesting example comes from interviews my Japanese graduate student conducted with mature students at Stockholm University who achieved access to university through the Folk High School qualification l . She bel ieved that Swedish society was classless and equal so it struck her when the students mentioned their own social class affiliation. It needs to be stated at the outset that while class and gen der form integral aspects of this article I am primarily concerned here with the use of language in these settings. We also hear stories about commuting between cultures, i .e. between an original culture and the newly acquired one. This awareness often comes through biographical learning, as in the case of my students who were trained to become folk high school teachers, and who through telling and analysing their life histories discovered...
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