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From secondary school blues to lifelong learning? - aspects of the retrospective re-evaluation of formative educational experience by adults

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An introductory section traces the connections between published autobiographical accounts of education in childhood, as seen in retrospect, and the construction of hypotheses for more formal research into the continuing influences of formative educational experience for adult learners and educationists. The reported research relates to the re-evaluation of aspects of primary and secondary schooling by 21 adults, seven each from the UK, Germany and Denmark. The results reflect a cross-cultural unanimity of perspective on certain key aspects of formative education, notably the generally positive view which subjects took of their own progress in both primary education and post-compulsory secondary education. Subjects in all three national groups independently expressed more reservations about their progress in schooling in early secondary education. The qualitative interview data failed to support the theory that educational progress in this period compromised by the intrusion of developmental factors relating to puberty and adolescence. Subjects' own accounts pointed more strongly towards interpretations relating to the management of crucial transitions in the responsibilities for academic study, from the early experience of dependency on teachers, in primary school, to the construction of independent learner goals in the later phases of secondary education in anticipation of the greater degree of autonomy required in tertiary and continuing education.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/026013799293766

Publication date: May 1, 1999

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