28 SES 13, Investigating the Capacity to Aspire
Throughout their lives, people experience transitions as a result of opportunities and structural constraints, as well as the outcome of individual agency. These transitions involve changes in identities (Ecclestone, Biesta & Hughes, 2010), namely in the reinforcement of identities as learners, as an outcome of education, training and work activities. These are transitions in specific domains of peoples’ lives, to which different meanings are given. In some situations these transitions follow the most common patterns of modernity, while in some others uncertainty of liquid modernity (Bauman, 2000) involves discontinuities of patterns. Owing to the character of such transitions, in some occasions transitions favour adaptation and social integration and in some others processes of emancipation and social change are more evident (Field, 2012ae 2012b).
For adults involved recognition of prior learning (RPL), the identification and reflection upon transitions were significant steps for the completion of this learning process based on a set of standards. This was the preferred “way of seeing RPL” (Harris, 1999) in Portugal and it was the most attended form of provision of adult basic education public policy from 2000 to 2011 within a trend of education and training for competitiveness (Guimarães, 2013). Learners involved in RPL had to write a portfolio including a biographical narrative and a bilan de compétences, namely of skills acquired throughout their lives. Based on these elements, adults could get a school education certification up until 12 years (the compulsory education path) and/or a professional qualification (in line with the European Qualification framework levels) after attending a form of provision that stressed the individualised character of education and training (Finger, Jansen & Wildemeersch, 1998).
This paper is based on the following questions:
- From the point of view of learners, what institutional constraints and opportunities were learners facing when building their biographical itineraries in what referred to limits and possibilities concealed by social structure? What learning was the outcome from these situations?
- From the point of view of learners, what institutional constraints and opportunities were learners benefiting from when building their biographical itineraries in what concerned limits and possibilities from individual agency? What learning was an outcome from these situations?
- What meanings were given by learners who attended recognition of prior learning to new knowledge and skills in the frame of transitions? How was this learning helpful for facing uncertain trends in life and work?
Alheit, P. & Dausien, B. (2002). ‘The “double face” of lifelong learning: two analytical perspectives on a “silent revolution”’. Studies in the Education of Adults, Vol. 34, Nº. 1, pp. 3-22. Anderson, P.; Fejes, A. & Sandberg, F. (2013). Introducing research on recognition of prior learning. International Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol. 32, Issue 4, pp. 405-411. Antunes, F. & Guimarães, P. (2013). Recognition of prior learning: valuing learning through transitions for individual and collective purposes? Paper presented at the 7th Trienal ESREA Conference, 4-7 September 2013, Humboldt, University of Berlin, Berlim, Germany. Ávila, P. (2008). A Literacia dos Adultos. Competências-Chave na Sociedade do Conhecimento. Lisboa: CIES-ISCTE/Celta Editora. Bardin, L. (1977). Análise de Conteúdo. Lisboa: Edições 70. Bauman, Z. (2000). Liquid Modernity. Cambridge: Polity Press. Ecclestone, K.; Biesta, G. & Hughes, M. (Edts.) (2010). Transitions and Learning Through the Lifecourse. London e New York: Routledge. Field, J. (2012a). Transitions and lifelong learning: signposts, pathways, road closed? Lline, vol. XVII, 1/2012, pp. 5-11. Field, J. (2012b). Transitions in lifelong learning: public issues, private troubles, liminal identities. Studies for the Learning Society, 2/, pp. 4-11. Finger, M., Jansen, T. & Wildemeersch, D. (1998). Reconciling the irreconcilable? Adult and continuing education between personal development, corporate concerns and public responsibility. In Danny Wildemeersch, Mathias Finger and Theo Jansen, Edts., Adult Education and Social Responsibility. Reconciling the Irreconcilable? Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang, pp. 1-26. Glastra, F. J. Hake, B. J. & Schedler, P. E. (2004). Lifelong learning as transitional learning. Adult Education Quarterly, vol. 54, n.º 4, pp. 291-307. Guimarães, Paula (2013). Reinterpreting lifelong learning: meanings of adult education policy in Portugual, 1999-2010. International Journal of Lifelong Education, Vol. 32, Nº. 2, pp. 135-14 . Harris, J. (1999). Ways of seeing the recognition of prior learning (RPL): What contribution can such practices make to social inclusion? Studies in the Education of Adults, 31(2), 124–139. Lima, L. C. (2005). ‘A Educação de Adultos em Portugal (1974-2004)’, in R. Canário and B. Cabrito (orgs.), Educação e Formação de Adultos. Mutações e Convergências. Lisboa: Educa, pp. 31-60. Mc Millan, J. H. & Schumacher, S. (2010). Research in Education: Evidence-Based Inquiry. Boston: Pearson.
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