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ERIC Number: EJ1049249
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015-Jan
Pages: 8
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-1082-3301
"It Is Good to Spend Time with Older Adults. You Can Teach Them, They Can Teach You": Second Grade Students Reflect on Intergenerational Service Learning
Fair, Cynthia D.; Delaplane, Emily
Early Childhood Education Journal, v43 n1 p19-26 Jan 2015
Service learning has become increasingly popular across all levels of education. Previous literature emphasizes that reflection is an important aspect of service learning. However, limited focus has been given to appropriate methods of reflection for younger children. This longitudinal study followed 31 second-grade children (15 females; mean age 7.6 years) who participated in a year-long intergenerational service learning project. Children made monthly visits to older adults, referred to as 'grandfriends' by the teachers, at local retirement communities. The primary research goals were to examine how children use writing to reflect on their service learning and to analyze how children characterize changes in their relationships with older adults. The children were interviewed at the beginning and end of the school year and responded to guided prompts in a service learning journal throughout the year. Interviews and journals were transcribed and coded for emergent themes. Qualitative analyses revealed that children's understanding of what older people can and cannot do became more detailed and complex. Analyses of the journals indicated that the children were able to effectively reflect upon their experiences through writing. Children demonstrated an ability to take multiple perspectives as well as reflect upon their emotions. Journals also reflected an understanding of the reciprocal nature of relationships; that children and grandfriends learned from each other. Findings suggest that relatively young children can effectively use writing journals to reflect upon their service learning experiences and that intergenerational service learning provides rich opportunities for improved cross-generational understanding.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Grade 2; Primary Education; Elementary Education; Early Childhood Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A