Life stories
Life stories

This free course is available to start right now. Review the full course description and key learning outcomes and create an account and enrol if you want a free statement of participation.

Free course

Life stories

1 Life experience as everyday talk

1.1 Life stories

Talking about our own personal experience may be important in care relationships, but isn't talking about your own life something that goes on all the time?

Activity 1: The personal as public property

This is the sort of activity you can do as and when. Just carry on with the course at present and keep an eye out for any personal stories in your leisure time.

When you've got a moment, or feel like taking a short break from this course, check through the newspapers, magazines, television, radio and film listings, books and adverts which have come your way recently. How many of them carry a personal story about the past or include someone talking about their own life as an illustration or source of information? We've assembled a few examples in the collage below. Looking through them, what kind of messages do you think they attempt to convey?

Figure 1
Figure 1 Personal experience seems to get into everything


You might find yourself overwhelmed by the amount of personal detail that's available. You might also have noticed that personal history and biography has found its way into all sorts of different kinds of information: advertising, fundraising, leisure activities, entertainment. The messages in the clippings included in the collage seem to be about identifying with the people shown by calling up emotions and experiences which may be shared. Personalising accounts with stories of real people, or making them seem real by quoting their words, using their actual names, or showing images from earlier in their lives makes it more likely that we'll pause and get ‘hooked’ by what we read. Sometimes these images are difficult to pass by.


Take your learning further

Making the decision to study can be a big step, which is why you'll want a trusted University. The Open University has over 40 years’ experience delivering flexible learning and 170,000 students are studying with us right now. Take a look at all Open University courses.

If you are new to university level study, find out more about the types of qualifications we offer, including our entry level Access courses and Certificates.

Not ready for University study then browse over 900 free courses on OpenLearn and sign up to our newsletter to hear about new free courses as they are released.

Every year, thousands of students decide to study with The Open University. With over 120 qualifications, we’ve got the right course for you.

Request an Open University prospectus