Humanities Education as a Pathway for Women in Regional and Rural Australia: Clemente BallaratReport as inadecuate

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Australian Journal of Adult Learning, v53 n2 p253-279 Jul 2013

This paper provides insight into the experience of Clemente humanities education for six regional and rural Australian women living around Ballarat. Each took part in an audio-taped semi-structured interview which explored the impact that university study had on their lives. Their responses suggest that Clemente Ballarat was life-giving. The student insights identified the critical importance of: providing a supportive learning environment for people lacking life opportunities and routine; students feeling better and happier with themselves resultant from personal learning achievements; doing something that was about "me"; support from others including Learning Partners and the programs counsellor; students appreciating their academic and inner strengths; rekindling dreams and hope; seeking ways out of poverty for their family; finding friendship and connection; appreciating the academic disciplines; improvements in well-being and mental health; and pride in achievements. Students also were apprehensive about what the future may hold after completion and graduation. These insights highlight the treasures that students found when engaged in humanities education based upon community embedded socially supported structures that enable learning. Further, these insights provide contextual outcomes for the Clemente program, which could be implemented across regional and rural Australia for people experiencing multiple disadvantages or social exclusion.

Descriptors: Humanities, Womens Education, Rural Areas, Foreign Countries, Audio Equipment, Semi Structured Interviews, Friendship, Higher Education, Educational Attitudes, Educational Attainment, Well Being, Program Descriptions, Social Integration, Student Attitudes, Disadvantaged, Educational Benefits, Self Concept, Psychological Patterns, Transformative Learning, Community Involvement

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Author: Gervasoni, Ann; Smith, Jeremy; Howard, Peter


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