Story telling as a key to learning
Reflective, autonomous learning of mature students was the main focus of the research project in which seven European partners were involved over three years (among others Poland). The aim of this article is to find out what reflection about learning students make when they tell their stories. One particular Swedish case from the project is presented to serve this purpose. The way of conducting life history interview is regarded a crucial methodological tool which allows researchers to initiate processes of reflection and self-reflection.
The story consists of a case of a male mature student who, while narrating his story, is puzzled by a sudden reflection and deepening self-reflection on his way of learning and the possible consequences of such learning for his personal, social and working life is a gro. The article presents an in-depth analysis of the biographical interview with the student. His discovery that learning is not only an individual and unique course, but a social process in its own right, triggers reflection and a spontaneous or even an illuminating reaction based on biographical learning.
The concept of biographical learning is advanced and link with identity work as well as with notion of the self and the others in the last part of the article. G. H Mead's theory of self is used, with the support from the empirical data. The intention is to challenge the predominant view in contemporary higher education discourse that learners are unique and individual persons who learn in a specific and distinct way without being affected by others. Moreover to go beyond a view of a collective versus individual learning and advance the idea that learning is a profoundly social process from the very start.
Zielona Góra: Uniwersytet Zielonogórski , 2009. Vol. 10, 81-98 p.