A systematical perspective on intergenerational learning
The European Union’s (EU) population structure is becoming increasingly older. An increase in life expectancy across the EU during the last century led to an enhanced longevity. In addition, the EU has experienced falling fertility rates since the 1970s. (cf. EU 2011: 7). These demographic changes will lead to significant challenges for European societies, families and individuals. For example, all aging populations have to face challenges of ensuring participation of older people in society and encouraging dialogues between older and younger generations. In addition it is expected that intergenerational learning processes that used to happen implicitly within families, workplaces and communities are decreasing (cf. Klerqc 1998).
Due to these developments, intergenerational programmes have been developed in institutionalised teaching and learning contexts like schools (cf. MacBain 1996; Marquard et al. 2008) and adult education (cf. Franz 2010, Franz et al. 2009). Additionally, programmes have been conceptualised in the context of community building concepts (cf. Cumming-Potvin/MacCallum 2010) and service learning programmes (cf. Zucchero 2010). This growing field of intergenerational learning is characterized by a plurality of different occurrences providing potential for various ways of learning between different generations.
Against that background the lecture focusses on the question how intergenerational learning arrangements can be viewed and analysed systematically. Therefore it will be differentiated between genealogical, pedagogical and sociological terms and theories of generations as well as between three different learning approaches. Based on this distinction a matrix of nine concepts of intergenerational learning will be introduced. Within that systematic view, examples of good practice in the field of workplace learning, community learning and family learning will be integrated and reflected upon research experiences (cf. Franz 2010).
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