(2012) Learning in later life and the construction of meaning: biographical research and the ‘signposts of life’

in QualitativeMałgorzata Malec, University of Wrocław, Poland

This article presents initial outcomes from biographical research with a group of Polish senior immigrants in Sweden in which they ascribe connectedness and ‘meaning’ to their lives. Their summations of their life experience are described here as ‘signposts of life’. The paper proposes a three-part model of learning to be old and argues that, in an ageing society, it is relevant for all age-groups to consider preparation for being old in a positive way and to re-construct notions of later life in terms of the opportunities it presents for reflective wisdom. After presenting a range of ‘signposts of life’ drawn from the words of the narrators interviewed, the article concludes that these interviews validate the notion of learning to be old; the construction of meaning in later life by older people makes available to those younger the outcomes of a lifetime of learning from experience.

International Journal of Education and Ageing, Vol.2, No. 3, 197–210, September 2012, ISSN: 2044-5458


older people, migration, biographical research, learning to be old, signposts of life

Files to download

  • Malec, IJEA Vol 2 No 3.pdf

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