Writing Our Life: Adult Learning and Teaching Through Autobiography

  • Irene Karpiak


This paper explores the use of autobiography as a tool for teaching and learning in continuing education. In a recent continuing education course on adult learning and development, students took on the project of writing five chapters of their life story. Subsequent interviews with the writers explored the process and effects of writing. The findings suggest that when adult learners undertake autobiographical writing in the context of adult education, they embark on a process of self-exploration and meaning making that, in turn, can promote the development of an enlarged view of themselves and the world around them. Based upon these findings, a proposition is made for the transformative power of putting pen to paper.