Finding inspiration

You don’t have to go any further than your local library if you’re looking for proof that learning has the power to change lives. Check out our top 10 list of books, films, plays and TV shows that will give you all the evidence you need.

  1. Educating Rita by WIllie Russell (play and film). Rita, a 26 year old hairdresser, wants more from life and takes up an evening class taught by disillusioned teacher Frank Bryant. A funny, sad and inspiring tale of self discovery.
  2. Evening Class by Maeve Binchy (book). On her return to Ireland after years away, Nora is invited to teach an Italian class for beginners. The novel tells the story of the teacher and her diverse group of students and how the class changes their lives.
  3. As It Is in Heaven (film). Suffering ill-health, Daniel a successful and renowned international conductor, returns to his childhood home to retire. He reluctantly agrees to teach the local choir and both he and the choir members get more than they bargained for.
  4. Tumble Turns (book). Australian Olympic swimming champion Shane Gould’s autobiography details how she reinvented herself through adult education. Returning to study in her mid 50s, she first studied a Certificate IV in Digital Filmmaking, and later a Master of Environmental
  5. Management (2010) and Master of Contemporary Art (2012) from the University of Tasmania.
  6. Padre Padrone (film) tells the real-life story of the linguist and author Gavino Ledda who was forced to leave school at the age of 6 by his tyrannical father to tend the family sheep. At 20, during a stint of military service Gavino’s love of learning is ignited and he rebels against his father and fights for his right to education.
  7. The Wire, Season 2 (TV series). Russell “Stringer” Bell might be a drug kingpin and housing developer by day but by night he attends the local community college where he studies economics.
  8. The Shepherd’s Life: A Tale of the Lake District by James Rebanks. Sheep farmer James Rebank left school early but as an avid reader developed a reputation as a whizz at pub quizzes. At the age of 21 he enrolled in an adult learning class and later studied at Oxford, then resumed work as a farmer and wrote a book about his life on the land.
  9. Love, Nina by Nina Stibbes is the an autobiographical novel about a young woman who moves to London and takes a job as a nanny and in the process decides to return to education, taking night classes at a local college.
  10. A Fortunate Life (book) is the autobiography of Bert Facey who overcame his problems with literacy to write a best-selling autobiographical novel.

Image credit: Educating Rita CC BY-NC-SA 2.0


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