Resilience: Stories of Adult Learning


Learner stories were collected from across Australia and the United Kingdom, and include voices spanning much of the earth. The anthology originated in two national adult literacies organisations whose members wanted told the stories of the resilience of learners and the value of developing literacies through lifelong and lifewide learning. This is the latest collection in a tradition of learner narratives and publications, by RaPAL (Research and Practice in Adult Literacies), and ACAL (Australian Council for Adult Literacy). The contributors were keen to inspire and reassure peers into participation, and to thank the tutors and institutions who helped change their lives, who travelled and supported them during their learning journeys.

In presenting their writing, many learners realised increasing confidence, supporting children and grandchildren, and opportunities in current and future voluntary roles and employment. Learners experienced the therapeutic benefit of social, creative and learning activity, as many worked through trauma and tragedy, through every form of loss, ill health, difficulty, disability, addiction, abuse, disruption, instability and struggles through state interventions, to learning in the later stages in life. Each story has been tagged and indexed with themes, which makes them searchable as well as browsable in the e-book, paperback and website versions. The website includes a small range of multi-media contributions, including transcripts. Most learners appeared to be eagerly bridging the digital divide.

For the diversity of learning provision which exists, the response to our call is inspirational. In addition to large adult, further, vocational, higher education and charitable provision, we have encountered a phenomenal range of community activity which builds in learning and outreach work. These may be in schools, neighbourhood groups, religious organisations, or outdoor forest school or allotment plots. We have contributions generated in offender learning, secure care, supported housing, retirement care, and special educational needs expertise, which build towards independent living.

Each story we hope will find readers who identify, and stories that illuminate the challenges and successes of others. As we read the learners’ stories, we see unfolding in front of us the rich personal and intergenerational benefits that are afforded through adult learning provision in diverse sites and diverse modes. We hope you enjoy and disseminate our anthology ‘Resilience: Stories of Adult Learning’.

More at