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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

This book illuminates the rich and creative uses of biographical and life history approaches in studying adult and lifelong learning, in diverse ways and settings, across many European countries. It draws on the work of internationally known scholars – under the auspices of the European Society for Research on the Education of Adults (ESREA) – and encompasses learning in the workplace, in families, communities, schools, colleges and universities, as well as in the professions, and in managing processes of migration and building new social movements. The reader will discover, in these pages, a compelling chronicle of the interplay of learning across people’s lives – formal, informal and intimate – and how to make sense of this, using interdisciplinary perspectives. The book will speak to researchers – new and experienced – and educators and other professionals wanting to extend their understanding of learners and learning as well as the potential of this ‘family’ of research methods.


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13 Educationa1 biography as a reflective approach to the training of adult educators


1 3 Educationa1 biography as a reflective approach to the training of adult educators Pierre Dominice The World of an Adult Educator In the past, the words 'adult educator' .have been primarily used in my country to indicate people who volunteer time to collaborate on different programmes offered to adult students. Further, such activities have been understood to be firstly concerned with cultural enrichment. Training for this kind of work was intended to help these volunteers lead or teach adult groups. In several countries, former or part-time educators who have had an experience as school teachers have served as the most common adult educators . At present, the training of adult educators is being carried out, in such countries as Belgium, France and Switzerland, through a variety of programmes offering diplomas, even sometimes academic diplomas, giving access to what has now become a profession. In many other countries, the validity of a continuing education programme and its potential for attracting subsidies requires qualified adult educators. The training of adult educators has become a key issue for filling the criteria of international standards of quality control . The University of Geneva, for example, has recently decided to offer a Masters degree as weIl as a continuing education diploma in the field of adult education. Therefore, the term adult educator has come increasingly to cover a diversity of professional activities including, besides teaching and group work, guidance and counselling as weil as human resource management. Sometimes programmes are aimed at specific target groups such...

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