Educational implications of research into the everyday experiences of adults

Year: 1994

Author: Hardy, Tim

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

Educational decisions for schools are often made on the basis of assumptions, or underdeveloped notions, about the lived experiences and needs of adults. This suggests that focused research on aspects of adult experience might provide understandings that could lead to more valid decisions being made in education. This paper examines the potential of detailed studies of the everyday life of adults to inform the development of education, with a particular focus on the areas of science and technology education.

A case study of the everyday life of a dairy farmer is presented to demonstrate the potential of such research in assisting the clarification of some fundamental questions in education. The case study is one part of a larger study commenced in New Zealand which has used extended interviews as the primary methodology to investigate the complex science and technology experiences of a range of adults in different life situations. The project has selected individuals to reflect diversity in terms of gender, ethnicity, occupation, age and family structure.

The findings suggest that there is significant potential from such a research agenda. In the case of science and technology education, research into adult experiences could inform decisions about the scope of science and technology education, educational aims and learning, and teaching approaches.