Entangled in teaching and learning within adult higher education: A life history study of a professor

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Gauthier, Launa
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Mount Saint Vincent University
I conducted a life history study of a professor of adult education that is situated in a context of higher education. In this work I examine the contextualized life experiences of Dr. Jake Roberts, a professor of adult education, in order to present an in-depth picture of who he is as a teacher, including the teaching practices he uses in the classroom. Life history methodology is appropriate for this study because it is broadly qualitative and involves collecting and reconstructing stories of individuals’ lived experiences within broader contexts. Therefore, through the information gathered about Jake’s life it is possible to gain insight into his individual experiences in the university in which he works. Telling Jake’s story also allows me to understand teaching and learning in higher education more broadly. Two interrelated questions undergird this study. First, how do diverse life experiences shape adult education professors’ views about teaching and learning, and their overall teaching practice? And second, what is the university’s role in particular in supporting their teaching? These questions support the broader purpose of this life history work, which is to explore how adult education theory and teaching practices can provide leadership and guidance related to teaching and learning in higher education. This study also serves as an expression of personal critical reflection on the development of my own teaching practice, in relation to retelling Jake’s story of entanglements in teaching and learning. I demonstrate this last purpose in the various personal narratives that I interweave throughout the work.
Adult education , Arts-informed research , Life history methodology , Teaching and Learning (Higher education)