chapter  5
15 Pages

Changing identities through re-engagement with education: Narrative accounts from two women learners


This chapter features accounts of two white British middle-class women, ‘Maria’ (aged 47) and ‘Fiona’ (52), participants in a longitudinal study of adults returning to formal learning via an Access to Higher Education (HE) programme. The women reflect upon their educational biographies, from schooling in the 1960s through to early experiences at university as mature students, and consider how these have impacted upon their wider lives. Changes in their sense of identity are explored in the chapter, and the value of using biographical research in highlighting the social context of individual lives is examined. However, before considering the life stories of Fiona and Maria (their chosen pseudonyms), I will explain my choice of the narrative methodology and contextualise the findings by reference to my personal and family educational biographies.