ERIC Number: ED408109
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1997-Mar
Children's Ideas about Aging before and after an Integrated Unit of Instruction.
Laney, James D.; And Others
Because of demographic changes in American society, educators now face the challenge of preparing today's youth for the political, social, and economic effects of an aging population. The purpose of this study was to explore first- and second-graders' ideas about aging and older adults before and after taking part in an integrated unit on aging. The curriculum unit, "Youngster, Oldster," was centered around three broad goals: (1) to promote positive attitudes about aging; (2) to enhance understanding of the aging process; and (3) to develop familiarity and skills in dealing with issues of an aging society. Inquiry-oriented research and narrative history activities included the use of children's literature and opportunities for cross-generational interactions. The unit was pilot tested in one combination first- and second-grade classroom in Texas in 1996. The regular classroom teacher was trained in the curriculum unit, and a pre-experimental one-group, pretest-posttest design was used to evaluate its effectiveness. Instruments used to elicit students' ideas about aging included an informal, whole-class, word association task, projective drawings, and an attitude-toward-aging interview. Results showed that by the end of the unit, children were more likely to: (1) have accurate conceptions of the aging process and life expectancy; (2) perceive aging as a process of continuous growth and development that varies from one individual to another based on many factors; (3) view older adults as happy, active, contributing members of society; (4) recognize similarities/commonalities between young people and older adults; and (5) have a positive outlook on their own future as older adults. (Contains 26 references.) (EV)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the American Educational Research Association (Chicago, IL, March 24-28, 1997).