Researching Adult Learners’ Lives to Understand Engagement and Progression in Learning

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David Barton


This paper examines the relationships between adult learners’ lives and the literacy, numeracy and language learning in which they are engaged. The paper brings together the results of a set of detailed studies of adult learners’ lives, summarising common findings from the studies and providing a set of implications for policy and provision. Finally, the paper outlines a model of the aspects of people’s lives that are significant for effective language, literacy and numeracy learning. The four part model covers people’s histories, their current identities, their current life circumstances and imagined futures.

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