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ERIC Number: ED338870
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1991-Apr-19
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
The Older Learner.
Wolf, Mary Alice
Older learners are often led into adult education by a quest for self-development and the wish to make meaning of the human experience. Adult educators should explore and appreciate the process of human development in the last stage. In old age there can be a merging of the knowledge of the body (life's stories) and of the spirit (developmental potential). The total population of persons over 65 is 31 million. Annually, 30 percent of the senior population participates in adult education courses. Educational gerontologists hesitate to stereotype older workers; they cannot always describe the "market." Older learners engage in three processes: learning and meaning making, learning and the shadow self, and learning and cognitive reordering. The adult educator can respond with greater understanding of the older learner in the following ways: (1) clearing the learning environment of stereotypical factors; (2) achieving a greater appreciation of all human development; (3) exploring the processes by which learners achieve integrity and joy; and (4) adopting curricula and experiences that enhance the learning potential of older adults. Guidelines for educators of older adults are as follows: (1) older persons should not be mythologized; (2) older adults need morale-building environments; and (3) responsive educators should listen to the intrapsychic voices of their clientele. (Samples of prose and poetry are included and 35 references are attached.) (NLA)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Conference of the Northeastern Gerontological Society (Albany, NY, April 19, 1991).