Engaging the Older Learner On Growing Old-Positively!

Donorfio, Laura K. M.; Chapman, Brian G.
September 2009
LLI Review;Fall2009, Vol. 4, p9
Academic Journal
Through the use of documentary film, whereby course participants selected films and sub-topics, an overwhelmingly successful six-week course on aging positively emerged. The framework included contextual introductory lectures, viewing of films, and significant discussion among male and female participants ages 53-88. Qualitative research findings demystified initial questions and concerns regarding participants' willingness to view films that might initially appear to address negative aspects of aging. Participant behaviors, including voluntary research and sharing of supplemental reading, showed indications of meaningful engagement of these learners. Living longer, redefining aging, confronting an unknown future, and ageism were four primary realizations defined by this group of learners. Outcomes included an appreciation of new knowledge, the creation of positive and realistic images of aging, increased optimism, diminishment of fears, and a sense of fortitude in some participants. Pre- and post-test surveys document that the older adult learners were curious, reflective, and found the course to be overwhelmingly positive.


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