Transformative recovery college applies an innovative approach in helping people with challenging mental health experience
06.09.2019

Innovative methodology includes learners in meaning-making

“The change is in the simple things like finding laughter again, doing family shopping, going back to work, being part of a group where once they were hermits.” – says Alice McDonnel about the impact of “Self-care and well-being” project, which participated in Grundtvig Award 2019 on Life Skills, on the participants. The idea of the initiative is underpinned by principles of co-production, mutual trust, and empathy. In the following interview, Alice tells more about the experience.

What is the main idea of the initiative?

“The Transformative Recovery College is a community-based service that takes an educational rather than a clinical or rehabilitation approach to improving mental health. The project addresses the needs of individuals who experience mental health challenges to deal with social isolation and build their self-management skills. The project emphasizes the importance of empathy and compassion in helping yourself and others in order to lead a fulfilling and happy life.”

How did the project foster the life skills approach?

“Adult education principles and the use of co‐production are foundational to recovery colleges: an individual with experiences of mental health problems can be engaged in designing and delivering courses and not all of those participating in such courses will have a psychiatric or mental health diagnosis. Prevention and management of illness, understanding and supporting someone with an illness are all vital components of life skills. The College focuses on strengths rather than weaknesses. Each person develops their own goals and learning plan as guide and support to their journey in learning and life.”

The project took part in adult learning festival EveryDayImLearning by AONTAS

What was the best practice learnt from this project that you want to share?
“With our practice, we achieved a range of outcomes. Most importantly, we build our work on equality in collaboration and co-production of education programmes, decision making, and management of the service. The Transformative Recovery College is offering a very different community lead project in contrast to the clinical and public health service model. Recovery education is evidence-based and once students are engaged they become enthusiastic advocates of the learning process. The impact on individual, family and community lives are very much personal and life-changing. The change is in the simple things like finding laughter again, doing family shopping, going back to work, being part of a group where once they were hermits.”

Self-care and Well-being

Category: National projects
Coordinator: Transformative Recovery College
Country: the United Kingdom
Focus: Transformative learning
Life Skills approach: strengthening self-management, empathy, and compassion
Resources: website

Text: Aizhana KhasanovaPhotos: Transformative Recovery College

06.11.2019 statements

Council Recommendation on Validation of non-formal and informal learning (VNFIL) - EAEA's response

EAEA sees validation as a key tool in order to promote lifelong learning, to ensure more flexible learning pathways, to encourage learners and build their self-confidence as well as to create a more comprehensive understanding of competences.

15.10.2019 advocacy

EAEA Secretary General honoured for impact on adult education in Europe

Gina Ebner, Secretary General of the European Association for the Education of Adults (EAEA), was inducted into the International Adult and Continuing Education Hall of Fame in September 2019.

30.09.2019 LLL interest group

Skills for Life, Skills for the Future

BRUSSELS, 30 September 2019 – On 25 September, ahead of the second European Education Summit, the European Parliament’s Lifelong Learning Interest Group met to discuss Skills for Life, Skills for the Future with Members of the European Parliament Julie Ward and Sirpa Pietikäinen, representatives of the European Commission, Finnish Presidency of the Council and stakeholders from all sectors of education, training and beyond. The meeting focused on how to better implement the concept of life skills, which enable people to fully participate in society as self-sufficient individuals, by bringing various domains and stakeholders together, including the different configurations of the EU institutions.