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Can Adult Education be a means for promoting 'Happiness' through quality learning?


Can Adult Education be a means for promoting 'Happiness' through quality learning?

Sustainable happiness is happiness that contributes to individual,

community and/or global well-being without exploiting other people, the

environment or future generations. (O’Brien, 2005)




Adult learning is often portrayed as being essential in order to keep up with changes at the workplace. Such changes create the context for the provision of flexible pathways to skills acquisition and personalized career pathing. Adult learning is here valued for its ability to address challenges facing the workforce, such as skills gaps, employee diversity and talent retention, and is considered a must to succeed in a constantly changing world of work. Yet this creates a very skewed perception of the potential of adult learning, in that it portrays it as being instrumental to work demands, rather than the actual fulfilment of learners. What about the potential of adult learning in engaging people in tasks that provide them with fulfilment, energy, happiness and what Csikszentmihalyi termed as “flow”?


Details of the online discussion: 11 July 2018 | 10:00 CET | Dr Vincent Caruana


This online discussion will consider three questions (1.5 hours per question):

Question 1: From your experience what is the link between adult learning and wellbeing and happiness? How is lifelong learning connected with the pursuit of happiness?

Question 2:As lifelong learning is increasingly commodified in the global marketplace, learning has become more of an individual goal and responsibility”. (Gouthro, 2006). To what extent does the emphasis of linking educational initiatives with potential financial gain impact on the pursuit of happiness? Negatively? Positively? Otherwise? Does this create a skew towards individual success as opposed to developing community-based learning initiatives?

Question 3: What is the role of adult educators in thinking through and taking up with our learners complex issues connected with the pursuit of happiness? How can one affirm the role of adult education as linked to the good life within communities and broader social goals in face of the increasing influence of the marketplace?


Dr Vincent Caruana has for the past 30 years been very active in the Social and Development NGO scene, both locally and at a European level, having co-founded Malta’s first Fair Trade Organisation and Malta’s Network of Development Organisations.  He is an established mentor and trainer of various Civil Society Organisations, and is also experienced in project management and monitoring and evaluation. He is also a member of the President’s Foundation for the Well-Being of Society.

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Themes addressed


Mammadaba Masterclass is a permanent and comprehensive opportunity for schools to bring their learning process closer to nature. Teachers and students are invited to acquire the environmental education programme "Learning about Forest" which also foresees active recreation in Latvian state forests. Each school class has an opportunity to become a Mammadaba Masterclass and recieve some green prizes. The Mammadaba Masterclass is organised by JSC "Latvia's State Forests" in collaboration with the National Centre for Education within the framework of the international environmental education programme "Learning about Forests". With enduring joy and enthusiasm the teachers during the school year take children to nature, learn about it, acquire new knowledge and positive emotions, as well as draw joy and inspiration from nature to become masters of the Mother Nature master class.
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Encouraging teachers and their students to spend more time in nature exploring the forest and to master the study material in an unusual way, JSC “Latvia’s State Forests” (LVM) together with the National Centre for Education and Riga Teika Secondary School have released a guidebook for elementary schools “Learning is in Our Nature”. Draw an inspiration for unusual lessons outdoors that brings more hapiness to students as well as teachers! Cause we learn the best by using all our body senses – feelings, mind, heart, hands and legs. The guidebook encourages everyone to experience this – go into the woods with mind and soul; educate and enjoy the life in Latvia’s state forests.
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Es uzskatu, ka mūžizglītība dzīves garumā balstās uz vajadzībām iegūt zināšanas, prasmes un pieredzi, lai paaugstinātu vai mainītu savu kvalifikāciju, atbilstoši interesēm un vajadzībām. Manuprāt, mācības un kvalifikācijas celšana palīdz kļūt konkurētspējīgākam un pārliecinātākam cilvēkam. Izglītības iegūšana un zināšanas paver daudz plašāku iespēju loku. Kad darba augļi ir nesuši rezultātus, kas atkarīgi no zināšanām, tas sniedz gandarījuma, prieka un laimes sajūtu kā arī labklājību, kas paver drošas nākotnes izredzes. Varu apgalvot, ka izglītība un zināšanas ir vienas no galvenajām cilvēka vērtībām un esmu laimīga, ka man ir šīs vērtības, jo tās ir vērtības, kas dzīvē neizzūd.
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Manuprāt, sevis pilnveidošana mācoties, apgūstot jaunas zināšanas, kuras varēs pielietot dzīvē nes šo prieku, laimi. Iegūtais nes gandarījumu par paveikto, tātad arī prieku, labsajūtu. Savā pieredzē mācoties par pedagogu man bija liels prieks iegūt šo izglītību, jo tagad varu darīt to, kas patīk, kā arī zinu, ka šo darbu ne visi spēj, kas sniedz vēl lielāku lepnumu par to ko daru, kas savukārt sniedz man labsajūtu savā darba vidē un kopumā arī šajā manas dzīves daļā. Visu dzīvi mācoties mēs atklājam un uzzinām kaut ko jaunu. Ja cilvēks nejūtas laimīgs ar to ko nodarbojas, manuprāt, tad mācīšanās tiešā veidā saistās ar laimes meklējumiem, jo cilvēks mācās, lai būtu tur kur vēlas būt un justos laimīgs, apmierināts. Protams, ne vienmēr cilvēks visu mūžu mācās lai justos laimīgs, iespējams vēlas paplašināt savu redzesloku, bagātināt pieredzi, un jau bez šīm lietām viņš var justies laimīgs.
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Thank you for participating in the online discussion on adult education and happiness. We have received 57 comments from 17 participants from Finland, Latvia, Malta, Poland, Portugal, Slovenia and UK. This is what truly makes EPALE a community of adult learning professionals! (NSS Malta)
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Apologies that I was unable to join the discussion this morning. I have some brief comments on the three interesting questions.
I am interpreting happiness as a state of joy or gladness. It is arguable that a primary objective of adult education is to “train” the learners in requisite skills for employment and therefore enable them to have a reasonable quality of life. However this is a purely utilitarian view of education. To achieve learner “happiness” as I define it, there has to be a process of transformation. The learner has to be liberated from the mental clutter which has accumulated from birth. This includes passed on assumptions which are culture-bound or even peculiar to a particular locality; and the taboos and normative expectations which are the ingredients of social control. It is arguable that many of these features are functional in that they ensure an equilibrium for the society or community in question, but they are by their very nature restrictive. They may affirm homeostasis but they do not encourage growth. Personal development through learning involves the liberating recognition that there is a wide array of ways in which to view the world and define the issues within it. This cultivates tolerant and critical judgement, and is an emancipating force for the individual learner. Such discovery can bring liberating joy or happiness to the learner. Collectively, it can be the basis of greater citizenship skills and awareness which lead to positive social changes for the common good. 
The western world is beset by populist politics which feeds off fearful individualism. Adult education has a crucial future role in helping our societies move towards true celebration of diversity and mutual respect, in addition to producing adequately skilled workforces. This form of shared learning can also bring the joys of discovery.
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The satisfaction of having achieved a goal you have challenged yourself to achieve is great for any learner, yet I believe that it is greater in the case of adult learners.  From my experience, I feel that the skill of personalised learning is one of the greater skills we can impart to our adult students.  It is indeed the keys to ‘happiness’ since we are giving them the skills to pursue their learning at their own pace leading to the personal satisfaction that they have managed to acquire the knowledge through self-taught.  

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I would like to thank all of you who have contributed to this discussion. As Laura Iveta Strode pointed out, the role of adult educators is very complex and focusing on the potential of adult learning in engaging people in tasks that provide them with fulfilment, energy, happiness and what Csikszentmihalyi termed as “flow” adds to this complexity. As Ramon Mangion and Christine Bertram suggested we are talking about necessary shifts of mindsets that move beyond the definitions of traditional adult education – a shift of mindset that requires “an intense self-reflection process.” 
Hope that this discussion contributed a bit in helping us reflect on our roles – including living with contradictions and trying to position ourselves within or without the marketplace, while fully aware of our role as linked to the good life within communities and broader social goals. And perhaps the comment “Let’s not be afraid of happiness” concludes better than I could have concluded myself! 
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Thank you, Vincent for an interesting discussion.
It is one of my favourite subjects in a way. Very complex. Motivations and flow states are one aspect of it (from a performance aspect - and learning in a way is performing), and then there's the "happiness industry". People's perceptions of happiness are equally intriguing. What I'm getting at is that it's just hugely interesting and it's gerat the topic has been picked up.
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Thank you for the fruitful discussion.  Unfortunately, due to work, I could not follow the discussion from the beginning.  But I have read many of the interesting contributions, many of which are by educators who have adult education at heart.  
May I share with you the following quote which I feel is very much in line with what has been discussed.
"Anyone who keeps learning, stays young."
Henry Ford
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Learning  is always a hard job, process that take time and effort. Happiness in more side effect than an outcome of a process but in a country like Slovenia  which is among 10 world countries if we  consider suicides, happiness should be consider very seriously. Actually there is a document Vison of Slovenia in 2050  and one of the premises is: “In 2050, Slovenians are a happy people.!«

More on:

Least but not last I would like to thank you   initiated such an interesting theme for discussion. I do often, while motivating potential participants to join adult education use that fact that participating in lifelong learning ensure longer, healthier and better life. I strongly belive in   our centre's statement “Knowledge improves life!”

Brigita Kruder, EPALE ambassador 

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AL activities bring people together and give new opportunities, challanges, perspectives for learners. AL make life brighter, meaningful and colourful.
The role of adult educators is very important and complex: being a teacher, facilitator, promoter to bring learners' experience into AL process, advisor, supporter, mate, personality etc. We are happy to have such professionals in Latvia. But adult educators need to receive more support in their professional development.
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Absolutely, Laura Iveta.
I think that's one of the core issues that the support that adult educators receive (if any) is sometimes not focused on the rather diverse roles they need to perform. There is support for curriculum development and delivery, but not much otherwise.
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I think it's extremely important as educators, not to impose a view of happiness. We need to be reflective of the fact that 'happiness' means very different things to different people.
It's important to faciliate that engagement and discussion at community level, but to predefine an Outcome would be, in my view, even dangerous. As educators we should faciliate the exploration and engagement with a thought process around this. And once the (personal) outcomes are defined, support a goal setting process to work towards this state and ist achievement.
The extent to which the skills to facilitate this process are present and can/ should be demanded from educators is a different question.
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I fully agree that happiness and well being are not to be defined from the outside but rather to facilitate that engagement and discussion at community level. I remember that when Local Agenda 21 was in fashion so many different communities defined their well-being in so many different ways. Here context is paramount. 
Yet your last remark on "The extent to which the skills to facilitate this process are present and can/ should be demanded from educators is a different question" is worth exploring in itself. 
Once you are pointing out "dangers" I would like to pose another one. In the interview "What's wrong with rights" (, Radha D’Souza has this to say:  
"Now, following on from that, we need to ask, if the Millennium Development Goals were not achieved, why do we need Sustainable Development Goals? And why do Sustainable Development Goals 2030 include the right to happiness? Right, and then you can see a whole lot of big players, for example, the Melinda and Bill Gates Foundation, the Clinton Foundation and so on taking up many of these development projects. And how do they plan to deliver on it? They deliver on — now because poverty has not been eradicated women are not equal. There’s no universal primary education yet. So instead of addressing those, now we have a new goal: let’s try to make people happy. Because people can obviously be happy even without anything, right? Because even slum children now are very happy when they kick footballs on streets, for example. There is momentary happiness, and it takes attention away from the fact that even if slum kids are happy, playing football on the streets — probably with a torn ball — and still feel happy, maybe questions of education, housing, health, you know, don’t really need to take center stage, or we don’t need to give it as much importance as we’ve been doing so far. So it kind of deflects attention from all of those things. And I think that is really one of the problems."
I only quoted a part. Have a look at the link for more detail.
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Hi Vincent,
Thank you so much for your comment and the link to Radha D'Souza's thoughts. It is exactly that. It all hinges on a concise definition of happiness. Personally, I prefer contentment (not that that can be grasped any better in measureable terms). But I think in many Western cultures people have lost sight of community, togetherness, and the inherent care and support - and therefore, happiness is defined by material possessions or the achievement of challenges/ goals. Or the sight of smiling children in the slums. Contentment is very different from that in my view. Happiness has become something of which you can "have more", rather than a state of being (hence why I prefer contentment). Contentment does not ask for "having more". Getting quite philosophical here.
So yes, why is this focus on something so intangible as happiness when there are much more tangible and ultimately more "life saving" issues to address? Personally, I think it is because the policy fields (such as education and health) are occupied and require systemic changes, which take years to implement and even longer to show effects. Focussing on something like happiness is easier to find a niche. And frankly it's easier to sell and more pleasing on the eye. It requires much less of a long-term focus. I am not belittling their efforts. It's important that this kind of engagement happens. It's just that I would question longterm effects and their sustainability.
I think someone else in the discussion said that educators are wearing so many hats, but that Support of educators is lacking. That's where my comments where aimed at. The role of a teacher differs very much from the role of a coach and yet they are both educators and provide guidance. Their skills set differ as much as their approach to working with the individual does. Can it be expected that an educator has this complete skills set from one end of the spectrum to the other? Or will this be to the detriment of being excellent in what they do?
It's just more and more questions. :-)
Best regards,
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Dear Participants of this second part of discussion
I think, in the context of my employment in OHP - Voluntary Labor Corps - - that many of young adults in Poland are looking for educational initiatives, that will make possible for them to acquire professional skills that will open for them new opportunities for interesting job and better earnings, and thus is a real sense of fulfillment and happiness. Such initiative is a project concerning vanishing professions. Vanishing professions are among others like f.e. roofing, carpentry, pottery, tailoring or weaving. Each of this professions is needed, especially since nowdays  - it is returning to the tradiction of rural life as a tourist asset. Agrotourism in Poland plays an increasingly important role. It creates many opportunities for      development and jobs for young adult people (18-25). Voluntary Labor Corps wishing to take advantage of this positive process on local labor markets decided to create the "Overwhelming professions idea for the future" project. The project was aimed directly to the people aged 18-25. In framework a lot of people gained professional qualifications thanks to practical vocational training, which ended with a specialized exam.  I send also f. e. a link, if You wish to see an example of it. Many greetings Maria Idxkowska, OHP, Poland
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Adult educators are crucial in process of informing, counselling  and providing learning activities. Their personal perception of adult learning, affirmation for learning in general and life experiences have huge (but sometimes hidden) impact on their work. Adult educator in usually a person who has  some social science professional expertise, and not necessary strong conviction and  practical knowledge in  lifelong learning  competences.   Social goals, national priorities, free classes or courses are kind of signpost of marketplace and global, social/national goals.  Any participation in adult education, no matter what and where, as long as quality in assured is better than none. 

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We can now move on to question 3: "What is the role of adult educators in thinking through and taking up with our learners complex issues connected with the pursuit of happiness? How can one affirm the role of adult education as linked to the good life within communities and broader social goals in face of the increasing influence of the marketplace?".
This is about us. It seems from the replies to question 1 that we all acknowledge our role as adult educators in promoting 'Happiness' through quality learning.
Here is our opportunity to say how we can affirm this role and make such a discourse more mainstream. What are we doing well and what can we do better viz-a-viz the goal of linking lifelong learning with the pursuit of happiness and community wellbeing. 
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Pursuit of happiness through adult education is a very challenging question where the role of an adult educator cannot be denied but also cannot and shouldn't be overestimated. Adult teachers are supporters of adults in achieving their goals, whether for work or for leisure adult learning does bring happiness, if internal wishes and goals are implemented. And if the teacher organises learning in a creative way, every moment of learning and achievement brings pleasure. Silvija
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I agree with your opinion. I also think that educators should not only encourage adult students to be active, but also shows those who have a need to learn, that they create something valuable, which also enrich our reality. Values serve to stimulate oneself in a creative man activeness on the field of building ownself and the world around us.
All the best Maria Idźkowska
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This is not that simple. As adult educators we face numerous challenges. At the end of the day we are also part of this 'marketplace'.  Our role should be to enforce the benefits of adult learning and if need be provide appropriate guidance. I find that in various adult education settings, guidance services are limited. Adults also require a certain degree of support in order to get their mindset on track to pursue further studies ,appreciate the benefits and reflect on their learning experience (particularly in terms of purpose). 
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Hi Ramon,
I completely agree. Providing this guidance and the techniques it requires are probably different to that of the "traditional" adult educator. The support to engage in that shift of mindset is crucial and once this has been achieved, individuals are possibly better placed to tackle larger obstacles.
The "pursuit of happiness" requires an intense self-reflection process. Learning and educators can certainly facilitate this, but it requires a lot of support.
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Here again me - Maria Idźkowska
In the context of the problem - formulated in question 3 -the way to confirm the role of adult education as related to good life in communities will be possible by gaining the confidence of the training participants, being a reliable person for them, acting for their well-being and own developement.
Best wishes. m
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Nowadays is impossible to ignore how skills development is important to get and maintain employability.

Education and training must therefore prepare people to be more competitive and to be ready to the labor market changes.

But education and training providers must not forget that if it is necessary for people to be more competitive and have distinctive competences it is also necessary that they be able to work as a team, to collaborate for a common purpose and to share objectives and a shared vision by a community.

In the scope of a new industrial era (Industry 4.0) these social and soft skills are considered crucial and sometimes even more relevant than hard skills, especially to maintain people in jobs that change too rapidly.

So, we believe lifelong learning strategies are successful if they can achieve equilibrium between the competences that promote personal success and those that allow a community to progress as a whole.

In Portugal, in the adult education and training courses, the reconciliation of these two dimensions is worked through a transversal activity to the curriculum called "themes of life". The theme worked out is often chosen by the class and should have an impact and relevance to the community life. This theme allows class to develop skills related to the working group and to promote the commitment of all with the accomplishment of something that could benefit the community.

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Thanks Cristina for sharing this. I find the  transversal activity "themes of life" chosen by the class as an example of good practice. CONFINTEA V had concluded that: "Linking environmental and social issues and locating environmental problems within the context of our daily lives and action are important challenges for adult environmental education.”  
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This is an interesting question which may require an examination from 'both sides of the coin'. As we know there are two sources of motivation. The intrinsic one whereby the adult learner would follow an educational initiative for self fulfilment and the extrinsic one which is linked to financial gain or any form of potential reward. At the end, whilst financial gain is not in itself equal to happiness, it can be one of the sources. One would need to see the context of that particular adult learner. One can follow a learning programme for its inherent knowledge and skills, but at the same time also considering the financial aspect.
I would like to consider myself this time as an example. I did a Masters in Adult Education because  I had a deep interest in adult education, training and development. However at the same time I knew that this was required if I had to move forward in my career. I can say that it was a case of individual success , but I also participated in community based learning initiatives, even on a voluntary basis.
In conclusion I believe that self fulfilment is in itself a form of happiness, even if this also results in financial gain.
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Thanks for all those who participated in question 1. Between 11.30 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. we will be focusing on question 2: “As lifelong learning is increasingly commodified in the global marketplace, learning has become more of an individual goal and responsibility”. (Gouthro, 2006). To what extent does the emphasis of linking educational initiatives with potential financial gain impact on the pursuit of happiness? Negatively? Positively? Otherwise? Does this create a skew towards individual success as opposed to developing community-based learning initiatives?". Here we are invited to go beyond our experiences and analyse the impact of the commodification of lifelong learning  on the pursuit of happiness and well-being. This question invites us also to structure our thoughts through referring not only to individual success and empowerment but also community based learning initiatives and well-being.  (In the meantime the thread of Question 1 will still be open).
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Dear all,

As a representative of the portuguese NSS but also as an institution that works directly with VET at the policy level, this is ANQEP's perspective on the subject.

According the report “How’s Life in 2017?” from OECD, there is a connection between well-being and happiness and education. Education is a tool to achieve a better position in well-being index. That’s why education is one of the aspects considered in this report.

The 2017 edition shows how inequalities harm well-being perception.  In 2017, in all OECD countries, in general, inequalities have many faces and they interact creating disadvantages. One of those faces is related to school attendance. People with lower qualifications are less likely to have access to life opportunities and skills that enable them to be healthier, to obtain better jobs, to provide better living conditions for their children and even to rely on public institutions. Inequalities are bigger for migrants not only in schooling attendance but also in conditions to use theirs skills. This reports advance that “in several cases, migrants are also unable to make the most of the skills that they bring with them: almost 30% of migrants with a tertiary degree are overqualified for their jobs, compared to 20% of the native-born. In addition to poorer working conditions migrants also face poorer living conditions: 1 in 4 migrants report being exposed to air and noise pollution in the area where they live, compared to 1 in 5 of their native-born peers; and 41% of migrants live in sub-standard or overcrowded housing, compared to 27% of the native-born. Migrants also report worse health, lower social support, and lower subjective well-being than the native-born in most OECD countries assessed.

Specifically considering the situation in Portugal and the educational features, this report says that the country’s performance is mixed: “while only 47% of working-age adults have attained at least an upper secondary education, among the lowest in the OECD, students’ cognitive skills at age 15 are above the OECD average level”. So, Portugal still needs to improve conditions to promote adult education, so people can get a better well-being perception.

Indeed, the same conclusion was described by other recent study from OECD, untitled “Skills strategy implementation: Guidance for Portugal”. This study shows that raising skills is critical to Portugal’s economic success and social well-being.

The study “Word happiness report 2018” also highlights the need for Portugal to improve with regard to the perception of well-being. Worldwide, Portugal is ranked 77th out of 156 countries, despite having risen 12 places compared to 2016. In terms of Europe, Portugal appears to be the fourth least happy country.

Therefore, the investment Portugal needs to do in adult education is big and justifies the importance of a new Governmental Program - Qualifica Program – target to adults without upper secondary education. This program combines training with process to recognition, validate and certificate prior learning.
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This post brings up a crucial point to our debate - inequalities! It is important not to fall into the trap of seeing "happiness" and well-being as individual pursuits. Structural inequalities are often a barrier to individuals and communities reaching their full potential.  Same for the environmental injustice identified here in that "1 in 4 migrants report being exposed to air and noise pollution in the area where they live, compared to 1 in 5 of their native-born peers." 
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Having seen wonderful examples of happy adult learners sharing their experience after either a completion of a course or having their skills validated, I can reaffirm the great approach that Qualifica centres have taken to promote adult education in Portugal is bringing satisfaction to adult learners. Silvija
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Dear Participants of this discussion
According to my experience, wisdom is a link between learning and happiness. Wisdom, especially its deepening - it is an ideal that can be aim throughout life. Wisdom it is about searching for meaning, sense in life - although we do not always get an answer to the questions posed.

All the best

Maria Idźkowska - Poland, employee of Voluntary Labor Corps from Warszawa (I take care of young adults and labour market for them)

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I would like to ask You,  if education is necessary to become wise? How do we know if we or others have wisdom? 

All the best Maria Idźkowska, Polan, Voluntary Labor Corps, Warszawa (young adults)
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From my experience of a language teacher, I believe that learning a language is more effective when students have positive feelings about it, when they know why they are doing it, when they have their own learning goals, and a feeling of responsibility for the learning process. Learning becomes a pleasure and something people long for. If we add a sense of achievement when ceratain skills are mastered and a conversation in a foreign language becomes possible, then I guess we can say that this process contibutes to well-being of a learner in general, not only in the classroom. Mastering a language is strictly connected with the ability to connect, communicate and interact with other people which is a vital element of human life, which is why I believe language learning has a great impact on one's well-being or even happiness. And on the other hand,  when unsucessful, it can contribute to difficulties in communication, for example, when staying in a foreign country, which can lead to loneliness, depression or other issues.
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I am an education policy specialist from Finland with over 20 yrs of experience from the field of AE. I started working as a language teacher for adults, many of whom had undiagnosed dyslexia. At our first encounters in the class room, these individuals were very timid - scared even - and wanted to be invisible, so that they would not have to engage in the class room activities. Soon, as I asked them about their language learning experiences, they confessed that they had been deemed stupid and/or lazy as children and often felt humiliated in front of their peers.
As little time went by, I noticed clear signs of dyslexia in the group of "invisibles". I carefully approached these individuals and asked if they ever considered they could have dyslexia or if they ever were diagnosed. All of them just looked a bit surprised and confused. None of them had any idea that they could be suffering from a relatively common difficulty. 
They were guided to initial dyslexia diagnostic tests and I provided them alternative ways to learn a new language and to make their competences visible (e.g. no written tests). I especially remember one lady with a husband and two kids. She had struggled with foreign languages and writing all her life and really feared that she would not be able to get her VET qualification due to these problems. Eventually, she got almost full points (grading scale 4,5 out of 5) and as she got the results, she started crying of happiness and relief. For the first time in her life, she realized she was not stupid or lazy, but a smart capable woman with an undiagnosed problem, which had cast a shadow over her entire life and career.
The next day she told me that her entire family had celebrated the test results together with her and her husband bought her a bottle of champagne.
A few years later, she wrote me an e-mail, thanking me for noticing her - seeing her and her potential. Due to the newly gained self-confidence, she had moved on with her career to a managerial position, which she never even dreamed of before. 
This is the power of Adult Education as provider of happiness - long term happiness and a means to make people and their competences visible in a safe learning environment.
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Hi everyone,My name is Monika Schmeichel-Zarzeczna, I am a librarian and EPLAE ambassador in Poland.At the beginning of this discussion, I would like to quote a quote that accompanies me very often:„Education is no longer confined to a particular age, that is, only a part of life; co-existent throughout its length, it represents an attitude and a dimension of life. It is an attitude enabling us to keep in touch with realities and not simply a preparation for work and responsibilities.”René MaheuIn this context, learning is presented as a value that allows us to adapt to the changing world. Understanding the surrounding reality makes us feel safe, and only a person who feels safe can grow and be happy. Learning helps us to develop our ability and get the best out of life.
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Hello, thank you for your intristing anwser, but I would like to tell you that one young worker told me that danger - adrenaline makes a person more self-dependent, and that raises happiness and create a sense of freedom. It makes a men happy.
All the best Maria Idźkowska, Poland, employee of Voluntary Labor Corps, from Warsaw (the labour market for young adults
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Of course it is needed :)I am glad that more and more people see this. As an employee of the library, I work with various age groups - with children, young people, parents and seniors. Each of these groups has different educational needs, but one thing remains common. I mean building a community based on the desire to learn new things. I see this especially in adult groups. Participation in the activities designed for them in the library (eg computer courses or guide workshops) allows them not only to develop yourself, but also to establish new relationships. This is another dimension of education that gives us happiness :)
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'...only a person who feels safe can grow and be happy'
I totally agree with you!  Lifelong learning is, in fact, the key for security and a sense of achievement for any learner.  As a person matures his motivation to learn is grows and develops (Knowles 1984) and it is here that we, as adult trainers step in to support and guide such learners.  
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Good Morning,
My name is Ramon Mangion and I am the Curriculum Manager at the Malta College of Arts , Science and Technology. I am also an Adult Educator, and EPALE Ambassador for Malta. I would like to pass a few points regarding Question 1.
Over the past 10 years I worked and lectured in different adult education settings. However upon reflecting on the various experiences I find that the following are the areas that were common and which in my opinion can present a link between lifelong learning and wellbeing/happiness. I will be as succinct as possible to avoid long reads on a computer monitor.
Satisfaction of Achievement
Adult learners feel fulfilled by being able to achieve something. This can be in terms of completing  a course or even achieving new skill that can be used in their day to day life. As we know satisfaction has a direct link to personal wellbeing.
Being able to do things
Happiness can also be achieved by being able to do something. I remember a case from basic computer skills lessons that I used to deliver at the local employment agency training centre. I had a particular adult learner that had never used a computer in her life, to the extent that she got very anxious during the first lesson when she saw the keyboard with so many keys. At the end of the course she came back to me quite happy because she had also learnt how to communicate with the internet through the use of Skype for example. She was able to communicate with her family abroad, which made her very happy.
Recognising own potential
Adult learners may not know their full potential. Through adult education they may discover new abilities or do things that are challenging. This may therefore be a motivating factor which contributes to happiness.
Community Action
Adult education may also serve for the purpose of community action. This can be either through interventions within the community that overall contribute towards the wellbeing of the community or else by a specific adult learner that uses his/her new knowledge and skills for the benefit of the community.
Overall, the above factors and others that I probably missed contribute towards an overall life satisfaction.  Even if not a 'medicine' on it's own this sense of wellbeing surely contributes to overall health .
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Thanks Ramon for sharing your experiences. I think that the type story you shared about the adult learner being happy because she learnt how to communicate with the internet through the use of Skype for example are often the stories that we miss out in more mainstream market oriented discourses. 
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Dear all, I would like to contribute by quoting Finnish philosopher Frank Martela. In Blue Wing Magazine he writes:

"A balanced combination of self-expression and the ability to support others produces both wellbeing and meaningfulness".

"Happiness is what happens when you are busy doing meaningful things."

I would say, that this is very true in adult learning, which certainly is a way to develop and realise yourself!

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