On Day Three of the AONTAS Adult Learners' Festival we visited the An Cosán Virtual Community College and had the chance to meet with AONTAS staff – Niamh O’Reilly, directress and Brid Greenan who introduced us to their website-based initiative One Step Up. Una Buckley, learner and enthusiastic learning ambassador shared with us ‘her long scenic route’. Here are our impressions (following the initial explanation of our attempts and impressions of Day One and Day Two:
For me, to assist in making the learners’ voice not only be heard but also taken into account when shaping policies, provision and other services has been a fascination. Maybe this is due to the fact that many years back – when needing help in making my life work for me and my family – I had the rare possibility to co-create the way forward. So I strongly believe that nothing should be done for someone without involving him/her into the process by listening to needs, aspirations, barriers, frustrations … This way they became subject (and do not remain object) of treatment; the solution is not being inflicted upon one but stems from their insight.
Una impersonates such as pathway and it is my sincere wish to contribute to establishing grounds for people like her who can then act as ‘shining stars’ but also ‘mobile forces’ in society. Are there enough such people with enough awareness, power and warmth to trigger a real change? A question not only for adult learning but for society as a whole! Sometimes I wonder but then I remind myself of that butterfly somewhere far away …
What a joyful experience it is to share and exchange your ideas with your Irish peers and find out that you pursuit the similar way – the holistic approach to lifelong learning. When listening to the AONTAS team explaining how they create opportunities for adult learners in order to live better in their communities, made me realize again and again how much work there is to be done in this field in our country. Namely, Slovenians are the least successful in the fourth Delors' pillar named Learning to live together. That is why it is so precious to meet Una who is sharing with us her story about obtaining her dreams by becoming an adult learner. To those who may wonder whether the world is better due to learning, Una sends out her message: 'Yes, it is. Because my world is better.' Remarkable words.
Question: On what do adult educators go? Answer: On passion.
The maximum exchange of passion happens when adult educators, in all the different varieties they appear, meet for the first time and they realise, that they have similar problems, but different solutions. The amount of motivation they gain for their further cannot be surpassed by any other mean.
This blog post is also available in Slovene. Click on this link to read it. Share it with your colleagues.