The research focused upon stories on memorable learning events. There was a total of 314 stories. Most of the writers were women. Content and discourse analysis were the research tools used for looking at the stories. Content analysis was used to seek out the learning environments and focuses, and established what were typical and untypical accounts in each environment and focus. Discourse analysis was used to establish how difficulties in different school subjects ere expressed, how the learning society was structured in the stories, and how the learner conceived of her/himself in relation to the teacher, the school subject and other pupils. It was also used to see how different discourse was actualised and modified within individual accounts of different school subjects and different learning environments.School did not emerge as a particularly memorable environment in the learning experiences. Only 44 % of the memoirs concentrated on learning in school, despite the fact that in five out of the seven rounds of collecting material people were specifically asked to write in the first instance about learning in school. There were differences in the discourse of the memoirs according to the school subject being described, but the central messages that rose above the specific subjects were showing, the instrument value of learning, hierarchy, competition, lack of time, and external definitions of time. These messages were repeated and These messages were repeated in memoirs written by both men and women, although the stories otherwise did differ according to gender.Many memorable learning experiences were not particularly meaningful from the learning perspective. Meaningful learning required confidence in one's own abilities, boldness to step into an uncertain world, and a desire to learn. It was also characterised by a sense of challenge, testing one's independence in relation to the experts in the actual teaching process, a sense of security in relation to external threats, a lack of hurry yet accompanied by time limits, and rather than a need to show, a need to use what was being learned.The research material contain many such stories that left a negative feeling. However, along with the negative memoirs, there were some descriptions of extremely positive learning experiences. One group of positive accounts was formed from those who spoke of an excellent teacher. Positive feelings also stemmed from exceptional circumstances allowing one to make an effort, or from succeeding in showing just what one can do. One clear group of negative memoirs was formed from those cases where difficulties stemmed from the teacher behaving in an unjust manner. Another group was formed from accounts in which the teacher had in some other way caused problems: the teacher had been frighteningly authoritarian or extremely strict. Fear of failure and fears related to one's own status among ther pupils were also frequently mentioned.
Oulu: University of Oulu, 1999. , 164 p.