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Older People as learners

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As a counter-discourse' it reveals the weight of the discourse of old age as ... With a loss of work roles, respect' becomes of critical importance. ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: Older People as learners


1
Older People as learners
  • Jonathan Hughes
  • Lecturer
  • Centre for Widening Participation
  • The Open University

2
Older People as learners
  • My research has been looking at the different
    ways older people are viewed as learners
  • From perspectives of
  • Government
  • F.E. colleges
  • Older people (themselves)

3
Older People as Learners
  • Government Perspective(s)
  • Could be summed up as
  • Older People? Learners?
  • Policy on Lifelong Learning
  • The Learning Age (Green Paper - 1998)
  • Learning to Succeed (White Paper 1999)
  • Learning and Skills Act - 2001

4
Older People as Learners
  • This process focuses on work
  • Meeting employer need
  • Making providers more relevant
  • Urging learners to take responsibility to
    up-skill

5
Older People as Learners
  • Older People?
  • (e.g. Winning the Generation Game -2000)
  • Ignored as learners
  • Attempt to re-define old age as later working
    life
  • Problems to do with long life, welfare provision
    and pensions

6
Older People as Learners
  • 5 senior college managers interviewed
  • Emergent themes
  • Community
  • Work
  • Need

7
Older People as Learners
  • Community
  • Separate
  • Site of unmet need
  • In need of support
  • But needs investigation

8
Older People as Learners
  • Work
  • Occasionally employment
  • More often whats done in college

9
Older People as Learners
  • Need
  • Deficits (out there)
  • Passive needs of learners
  • Active colleges? we need to

10
Older People as Learners
  • In neither of these views does the view point of
    older learners themselves figure
  • So I ran 3 workshops between September 2003 and
    January 2004 involving some 75 people

11
Older People as Learners
  • So how do older people see themselves?
  • For these groups, learning was about being well
    connected and well informed

12
Older People as Learners
  • To an extent accept ideas about older people
  • Some people do not take easily to learning
    their brains are not as quick as they once were

13
Older People as Learners
  • The stress is on maintaining themselves
  • To keep brain active to be able to converse with
    younger people to gain confidence to be able to
    go forward to have a go at anything
    achievement.

14
Older People as Learners
  • In this context active becomes central to the
    discourse that these older people were trying to
    create.
  • It relates to maintaining social networks.
  • And to staving off unwanted consequences of old
    age.

15
Older People as Learners
  • As a counter-discourse it reveals the weight of
    the discourse of old age as decline and
    usefulness.
  • To an extent accepts this discourse.
  • But also seeks to create a space where self
    esteem and respect can develop.

16
Older People as Learners
  • With a loss of work roles, respect becomes of
    critical importance.
  • S But I think you do get respect because you say
    to them, and they go, Ooh, whos done that
    poster? And you go, Ive done that!
  • B You go up in their estimate

17
Older People as Learners
  • So older people seek out learning not to acquire
    subject knowledge
  • And definitely not to re-skill for paid work
  • But rather, by using learning as a measure of
    activity, to stay healthy, maintain respect and
    develop social networks.

18
Older People as Learners
  • Male participant in workshop 3
  • I reckon that the government wants us to die at
    64.
  • Female participant
  • And women to die at 59!
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