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ERIC Number: EJ1021975
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 11
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0360-1277
Using Older People's Life Stories to Teach Developmental Psychology and Aging: Benefits and Difficulties
Villar, Feliciano; Fabà, Josep; Celdrán, Montserrat
Educational Gerontology, v39 n12 p867-877 2013
The goals of this study were to design and implement an experiential learning assignment in an undergraduate developmental psychology and aging course and to explore students' perceptions of it. One hundred and forty-three first-year students enrolled in an introductory course on developmental psychology across the life span recorded, transcribed, and analyzed the life story of an older person. Afterwards, they wrote a paper that combined theoretical concepts and reflections on this story and were asked about the benefits and difficulties of the task. The answers to these questions were content analyzed. The reported benefits were grouped into two categories: benefits related to the academic objectives of the project (improving learning of developmental concepts, research-related skills, and attitudes towards old age) and personal growth. The former were reported by approximately two-thirds of the participants and, in most cases, were related to the acquisition of theory. The latter were mentioned by 70.6% of students, and learning some kind of life lesson was the most cited benefit. Students mentioned some difficulties in interviewing, transcribing, and analyzing the interview, and in writing the paper. Interviewing seemed to be the most difficult task. Collecting and analyzing an older person's life story seems to have many positive effects, not only on students' knowledge, skills, and attitudes, but also on their personal development. Thus, despite the difficulties posed by this experiential learning assignment, it might be a useful tool to complement more traditional lecture-based teaching methods in developmental psychology and aging courses.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Spain (Barcelona)
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A