Of roofs and knives: the dilemmas of recognising informal learning

José Machado Pais and Axel Pohl

in Young people and contradictions of inclusion

Published by Policy Press

Published in print December 2003 | ISBN: 9781861345547
Published online March 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781447304357 | DOI:
Of roofs and knives: the dilemmas of recognising informal learning

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  • Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility


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The European discourse on lifelong learning and competence has increasingly referred to the potentials of informal learning as being broader with regard to both contents and access than formal education and training. The recognition of informal learning is seen as a means for democratisation and equal opportunities. It also offers a connection to individual everyday life, with both its pragmatism and subjective meaningfulness. By drawing on this discourse, this chapter reflects on the properties of informal learning and on the implications of recognising it in a wider social context in a way that makes it a valuable resource of social integration. While the discussion acknowledges approaches to validate job experiences in terms of vocational training, the limitations of the formal system of education and training and its bias against the recognition of the learning potentials of young people's everyday lives can be causes for concern.

Keywords: informal learning; social integration; vocational training; formal education; young people

Chapter.  8618 words. 

Subjects: Social Stratification, Inequality, and Mobility

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