Learning from Our Lives

Authored by: John Field

The Routledge International Handbook of Learning

Print publication date:  December  2011
Online publication date:  May  2012

Print ISBN: 9780415571302
eBook ISBN: 9780203357385
Adobe ISBN: 9781136598562


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We live and learn. Like so many popular sayings, this one seems to be stating the obvious. Yet, like most clichés, there is a reason why we all take it for granted that this is what we humans do. As individuals, we value our ability to learn productively from such everyday experiences as going about our work, caring for our family, encountering friends and neighbours, experiencing illness, enjoying sports and hobbies, or sitting around relaxing. And this capacity matters. Later in this article, I suggest that our capacity for learning from our lives is also a major influence on who we are (our ‘identity’) and how we live with others. More immediately, it can help us earn a living, avoid injury, make and repair things, plan ahead and deal with life's crises. At a wider level, it helps to shape our social relationships and our economic position.

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