ERIC Number: ED290895
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1987-Oct-22
Reference Count: N/A
Selfhood and the Older Learner: The Promise of Education.
Wolf, Mary Alice
Educators must create learning opportunities to stimulate older adults and allow them to develop. These educators must also operationalize self-fulfillment in adult education. Research and theory indicate that cognition is an adaptive process and elders who practice learning activities will maintain their abilities. Further, research and theory of the psychological state of older adults suggest that reminiscence or "life review" is of serious consequence. Programmers should also be aware that interests based on gender may merge or reverse in later life and should consider how education might provide life satisfaction in old age. A longitudinal study of older adult learners has found that the act of partaking of education was often an empowering gesture. A followup study seven years later indicated that most had stopped attending formal educational activities. Reasons fall into three general categories: health problems, life patterns, and unfulfilled expectations. Other findings are that informal educational activities still attracted elders, age is irrelevant, and the motivations that brought them into the educational system have not changed--most were related to lifelong personality constructs. Educators must keep in mind that research in gerontology is often cohort-bound; therefore, they must follow older adult participants into the next stage of their lives to see the effects of education. (YLB)
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Association for Adult and Continuing Education (Washington, DC, October 22, 1987).