Ready to Learn – Taking the First Step

‘Oh I was just wondering have you got a moment, I just want to ask you about something‘ she had arrived at NCI reception and they suggested I might meet with her. ‘No problem at all‘ I assured her while thinking how much I had to do that afternoon. Five minutes later she sat in my office. She was very nervous and I thought I noticed a slight trembling in her voice. Her name was Susan. ‘It’s like this‘ she said ‘I was thinking of doing a course here but I am not sure if I’d be able for it‘. She went on to tell me her story. She left school at sixteen without a Leaving Cert. She worked in the retail sector for the last twenty five years and now she is a manager. She is married with three kids and two of them are in college. She reads a lot and is well liked by her colleagues. Generally, she’s happy. But there’s always been a niggle. An unease and sense of being often left out, ignored and taken-for-granted. ‘Sure what would Susan know‘ she once overheard a younger colleague remark. Susan explained that she has been thinking about Read More …

Learning Identity and Learning Italian

In previous posts I spoke about learning identity. I emphasised that we all carry many (often unquestioned) assumptions about who we are and who we can be as learners.  The notion of learning identity is proposed as a component of one’s overall self-identity.  I argued that learning identity is often framed in one’s school years and can remain fixed through life especially for non-participants in further formal learning. In my own research on participation in the digital world I came accross learning identity as an important influence on people’s decisions to enroll on basic computer courses.  The recurrent theme is captured in the phrase “I was no good in school”. Well, I decided to turn the spotlight inwards and direct my scrutiny at my own learning identity.  I have always believed that I am no good at language learning.  My French is dreadful despite struggeling through six years of it in school.  I can speak a bit of German because I lived in Munich for a time after college but here’s the thing about German – outside of Germany no one wants to speak it! So I’m going to learn Italian. posted by Leo Casey

The Child Abuse Report – Adults now Children then

I can’t let this week go by without commenting on the publication of the report on abuses in the Irish education system by members of religious orders. The report was particularly scathing of the Christian Brothers. I went to a Christian Brothers school and indeed was walloped, slapped and beaten like many others. There was violence in my schooling but also lots of good stuff and on balance I got away lightly. In light of the report I wish to comment again on the phenomenon of Learning Identity – I talked about this in a previous blog. As you might expect my ‘learning identity’ is made up of two components – my view of learning and my view of myself as a learner. For many adults, including the victims of abuse in educational institutions, learning identity established in childhood remains fixed throughout life. The consequences of the deplorable schooling system are still being felt today – people have fragmented learning identies. For many, even to think about formal education will give rise to extreme anxiety. As such, these people miss out on the opportunities to progress and to participate effectively in society. For those of us involved in current adult Read More …

My Learning Identity

The term “identity” is widely used in many different contexts – we often speak or our national, cultural, linguistic or sporting identities. This multifaceted aspect of identity signifies that we should really think about our identities rather than a singular identity.There seems to be two ways in which we use identity in everyday life; firstly, we identify with a particular group or practice – in this we seek to belong or to be a part of something and secondly, we develop an internal notion of our own identity – this is self-identity – and it is often used to compare ourselves with others.It is not difficult to see how the two are intertwined.Imagine a situation where you meet someone for the first time and you wish to get to know more about them – you might start by asking where they are from etc.. There follows an exchange of descriptive information usually in the form of identity signifiers: “I am from Dublin”, “I am an educator”, “I have teenage children”.In no time there is common ground and perhaps you find a mutual area of interest with your new friend.Identity signals serve a useful function in social situations they help us Read More …