Publication Details

This book chapter is published as Lysaght, P, Women returing to study: stories of trans formation, in Kell, P, Vialle, W, Konza, D and Vogl, G (eds), Learning and the learner: exploring learning for new times, University of Wollongong, 2008, 236p. Complete book available here.


What happens when women return to study after years spent in the home or in poorly paid jobs requiring limited professional skills? How do they assess their abilities on the basis of their experiences and how can professional advisers support them in this process so that their potential is realised? This chapter has as its focus the experiences of six women returning to study who were required to think about their skills and abilities in ways that they had never previously contemplated (Lysaght, 2001). Their understanding of intelligence, particularly as it was reflected in their own lives, was challenged at a very personal level. Through their stories they were encouraged to assess their abilities and potential in a manner that gradually led them to redefine themselves as individuals. The stories told by these women challenge the traditional approaches to intelligence and its assessment that are often undertaken by professional advisers. They require all who work in the educational sector to explore alternative ways of supporting new and returning students as they pursue goals related to study and work.

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