Improved Health and Wellbeing: Benefits of Adult Learning and Evening ClassesBy Beth Golden, UniversityHerald Reporter
In a study done with Workers' Educational Association (WEA), Oxford University's Department of Experimental Psychology studied individuals attending adult education classes for a period of 7 months. Their overall finding is that all participants reported having more satisfaction in their lives and they had improved mental and physical health at the end of their respective courses.
"The students reported benefits including increased self-confidence, a greater feeling of control over their lives and more willingness to take on new challenges. Some said the classes made them more motivated to be more active, despite the classes not specifically involving physical activity." Disclosed Dr. Eiluned Pearce who headed the study.
In an earlier report, the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) said that, "education promotes sustainable development, healthier societies, better jobs and more active citizenship."
Apart from the activities, participants were also able to expand their networks through their groups and found a sense of belonging that also improved their wellbeing.
Howard Croft, WEA's Regional Education Manager noted that, 'The findings reiterate the feedback that we have had from our students over the years: learning is a fantastic way to boost your self-esteem and confidence. Also of note, is its therapeutic effect. For many students, creative courses are a means of finding a new outlet for expressing their feelings. This can be of immense help during times of personal difficulty or emotional upheaval, such as divorce or bereavement. Simply going to a course can offer much-needed respite."
The studies conclude that music has a positive effect and acts as an ice-breaker making it easier for the participants to connect with one another and it also makes them bond faster.
"While much of our previous work has demonstrated the importance of music, it is likely that the most socially bonding activities are always those that are personally chosen and enjoyed. This research adds to growing support for the relevance of creative activities in creating happy communities and improving health and well-being, with consequent benefits for public services and society." Dr. Jacques Launay, a co-author of the study adds.
While there is definitely room for more inquiry on this topic, we can conclude that the community built from these classes has a positive effect on the participant's wellbeing regardless of their activities.