Narrating unfinished business: the accumlation of credentials and re-imagined horizons across the life-course

Pegg, Ann and Di Paolo, Terry (2011). Narrating unfinished business: the accumlation of credentials and re-imagined horizons across the life-course. In: SRHE Annual Research Conference 2011: Positive Futures for Higher Education; Connections, Communities and Criticality, 7-9 Dec 2011, Newport, Wales, UK.

URL: http://www.srhe.ac.uk/conference2011/index.asp

Abstract

This paper examines the relationship between lifelong learning and the lifecourse and draws on the findings from interviews with part-time mature learners who are either completing previous studies from another institution or returning to higher education to study further undergraduate level qualifications. In this work we position past learning as institutional cultural capital and explore the role of this past capital in enabling students to orient towards their future self (Stevenson and Clegg,2011) and realise imagined career horizons (Hodkinson, 2008). Adopting a narrative analysis, the paper outlines three emerging narrative themes, travelling, exploring and unfinished business. We need to understand a range of possible narratives that students draw upon to support successful learning and to move forward the flexibility of our student centred curriculum.

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