This title was first published in 2000: Why do mature women return to education? On the face of it, the answer would seem obvious - to gain qualifications which they had not acquired in their earlier learning. However their return to learning seems to be much more than just about paper qualifications. This book describes the experiences of a number of mature women students who return to learning some time after their compulsory schooling. It looks at the links which the women make between their life stories and their return to education. In particular, it focuses upon a number of women who talk of painful experiences either past or current in their lives - experiences such as manipulative and controlling parents, psychological, physical and sexual abuse, an alcoholic parent, the death of a child or other family members and other difficult life events. These experiences have had a considerable and often ongoing effect on the women’s lives and their return to education seems to be much more than just about paper qualifications. For example, the women talked of confidence, status, proving ability, self respect and independence and what emerged very clearly from their stories was the desire to have some power and control over the way in which their identity was defined. The book breaks new ground in that it makes clear links between the women’s return to education, their past, often very painful experiences and identity. Sometimes the women make very clear connections, but at other times the connections are less explicit, though nevertheless powerful. This is an new area which will contribute to the growing literature on women returners. It will be of interest to lecturers and researchers in many disciplines and will raise awareness of some of the unexpressed reasons for women returning to education.
Introduction; Why do women return to education?; Identity and education; The impact of major life events or changes; Childhood experiences; Unplanned pregnancies, life course and a return to education; Mega trauma and the links with education; Conclusion; Bibliography.
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