EPALE Community Storybook: Empowering adults to learn and participate in society
COVID-19 was an unprecedented global phenomenon in recent times that no one saw coming. Overnight the world we used to know changed.
The Greek philosopher Heraclitus said that change is the only constant in life. That may be so, but how we adapt isn’t. It is part of the shared human experience and applies to our personal and professional lives. Successfully navigating change largely comes from how well we react and respond. We have learnt that even the most challenging events can bring out the best in us, spark our creativity and even strengthen our motivation.
Even without COVID-19 everyday life is challenging for many of us right now. So, in 2020 we launched a call to collect stories of adult learning activities against the challenging backdrop of the pandemic and the social restrictions that it brought. The following year, we put the spotlight on adult learning activities related to the three 2021 EPALE Thematic Focuses. The response was stunning. We collected a hundred inspiring stories from all over Europe.
One community, many inspiring stories
EPALE put together these inspirational stories to celebrate the vibrant European adult learning community and to give you encouragement and hope. The stories show the courage of people to overcome challenges and move beyond obstacles.
Struggle is a part of every good story, we know that. These stories show how adult educators and adult learning professionals defied doubt, defeated obstacles, and tried to make a difference in their own community and in their learners’ lives.
And that is what this Community Storybook is about: individuals from around Europe sharing their personal stories of inspiration, resilience, and practice.
People often feel that they alone can’t make a difference. Well, the truth is that they can and do. And every success story often involves failure. We learn from those obstacles and failures to get better.
One community, many professional backgrounds
Teaching and training adults involve all forms of formal, non-formal, and informal learning activities – all providing opportunities for lifelong learning. It can involve the special consideration of marginalised or disadvantaged groups and does include practices from many different sectors. These are all perfectly represented in the many stories gathered under the section Inclusive Social Change for Sustainability and Fairness, which reflects the great passion of the EPALE community for inclusive practice in ALE.
Adult learning professionals have different backgrounds and run their practices in a variety of areas and entities. They are united by a clear mission: to build the skills and knowledge necessary to fully participate in society. This mission is also clear in the Digital Transition and The Opportunities of Blended Learning and Life and Work Skills for Empowering Adult to Learn and Participate sections.
To get an idea of the professional backgrounds of the authors of the 2021 Community stories, have a look at this infographic.
One community, many learning spaces
Adult learning and education happen in many places. It comprises practices that aim to ensure that all adults participate in society and in the labour market. Such learning processes happen in their communities since learning happens everywhere.
This infographic displays that learning spaces are anywhere, both virtual and physical. Each place is a perfect place for learning.
…and now, it is time to read the stories and get inspired!