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Later-life learning and a new agenda on ageing -perspectives from the United Kingdom and Europe Keith Percy Lancaster University, UK
Structure of TalkThird AgeLifelong learning: policy developmentTeaching older peopleBenefits of learning for older peopleIntergenerational LearningScholarship and ResearchActive Ageing
UN (United Nations) Actions• 1972 Fauré Report: Learning to Be• 1991 UN Principles for Older People - independence, care, participation, self-fulfilment and dignity• 1999 UN International Year of Older People• 2002 2nd UN World Assembly on Ageing Madrid: International Action Plan• 2012 UNECE Ministerial Conference to review progress since Madrid (Vienna)
Madrid International Action Plan Ageing: Five of Ten commitments [edited]• To mainstream ageing in all policy fields … to achieve a society for all ages• To ensure full integration and participation of older persons in society• To promote life-long learning and adapt educational system to changing conditions• To ensure quality of life at all ages to maintain independent living• To support families [caring] for older persons
European Commission Actions• 1996 European Year of Lifelong Learning and Intergenerational Solidarity• 2000 EU Memorandum on Lifelong Learning• 2007-2013 Lifelong learning Programme• 2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations
Models of lifelong learning• Equality of opportunity or social justice model• Independent or self-directed learning democratic model• Human capital work skill development model [Schuetze, H (2007) International Journal of Lifelong Learning, 25, 5—23]
Do older people need methods of teaching and learning that • fit their age • use their life-experience • are peer-based, not didactic • liberate them ?
Using life experience in teachingUse of life-experience in teaching can•make learning immediately meaningful•allowing older people to find examples intheir own experience which exemplify orconfirm what is being taught•encourage older people to compare lifeexperience of other members of a class
Teaching older people liberationPaolo Freire said that the responsibility ofteachers was to liberate the minds of the‘oppressed’ and prepare them for socialaction.Are older people among the ‘oppressed’?
Older people prefer didactic teaching or peer learning?If you have one person speaking for thewhole time, you don’t learn very much fromeach other …[Older] People have hadenough of formal learning but they still wantto go on learning and sharing what eachother learned over the years.Quotation from British U3A member: International Journalof Education and Ageing, vol.2, no.1,p.2, 2011
Lancaster research: older people & benefits of learning• All said gained intellectually and university learning added to feelings of self-worth• All reported style and level of teaching suited their age and cognitive abilities• Some said teaching had helped them understand their own life experience• Some learned new critical perspectives on their own social situation• Some learned from both didactic teaching
Health and well-being benefits of learning• Improvements in health knowledge leading to changes in behaviour eg. smoking, diet• Improvements in physical health• Improvements to wellbeing and mental health• Improved cognitive performance [National Seniors Australia Productive Ageing Centre, 2010]
Older people learning: possible negative effects• Teaching styles can cause anxiety and stress• Education can uncover unpleasant and stressful experiences from earlier life• Educational activity can disrupt social networks• Learning usually involves transformation where something is gained and something lost[Field, J (2009) Well-being & Happiness. Leicester: NIACE]
2012 European Year for Active Ageing and Solidarity between Generations• The overall aim for EY 2012 is to promote active ageing and to do more to mobilise the potential of the rapidly growing population in their late 50s and over, across Europe.• The year will provide a framework for policy development and concrete action to enable the European Union
Active Ageing• Active ageing as preventative concept• Lifelong and intergenerational• Including rights and obligations• Partnership between individual and society [Walker, A (2002) A strategy for active ageing, International Social Security Review, 55,121-139]