Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Primary School Teachers' Views on Intergenerational Learning

Academic journal article Kuram ve Uygulamada Egitim Bilimleri

Primary School Teachers' Views on Intergenerational Learning

Article excerpt

Increasingly longer life spans, a new social fact in today's societies, focus attention on intergenerational harmony and the need for cooperation between generations. With this lengthening of the ageing process, the role of the elderly within an organization has become increasingly important and leading to intergenerational connections and relations gaining importance (Krasovec & Kump, 2010). Throughout history, intergenerational learning has in fact taken place in various environments such as at work, in the family, at events, rituals, and so forth. Older people have always passed their knowledge on to the young. Nowadays, the intergenerational approach is not just the traditional approach, a one-way knowledge transfer from older people to the young. The rapid growth of novelties and new problems calls for the approach of cooperation between generations and cooperative learning (Licen, 2010).

According to its estimates from 2004, the United Nations Organization declared that the average life expectancy will be 73.8 in 2010 and 81 in 2050 (Andersen, 2008). When population dynamics all over the world are investigated, the general population growth rate is seen to be declining and our world has entered into the demographic ageing process at an increasing rate. In Turkey, the elderly population constitutes a social aspect which cannot be ignored anymore. This change in demographics affective not only in this country but also all over the world, changes the society from a "young society" into an "old society" (Hotar, 2012). Despite these developments, society has a recent tendency to exclude the elderly. They are considered incompetent and denied their responsibilities. This is far removed from previous societies in which, given their experience, the eldest members had enjoyed a much higher status (Hernandez & Gonzalez, 2008). Nowadays, the fact that people live longer prompts governments and organizations to create a future in which old people are respected and significantly involved in social life (Seedsman, 2007). In accordance with the Republic of Turkeys Law 5510, the retirement age is 58 for women and 60 for men until 2035. But in the years that follow, the retirement age will gradually increase. As of today, the qualifying age for a pension in most OECD countries is 65 (Sosyal Güvenlik Kurumu [Social Security Institution], 2007). When teachers' years of experience are generally examined through age distribution in Turkey, 0 to 10 years experience corresponds to 52% of teachers; 11 to 20 years experience is 27% of teachers; 21 to 30 years is 13%; and over 31 years of experience corresponds to 8% of all teachers. According to the age distribution of teachers, 35.6% of them are under the age of 30,33% of them are between 33 and 39 years old, 22.9% of them are between 40 and 49 years old, and 8.5% of them are over 50 years old (Dinçer, 2014). These indicators show that teachers between 20 and 50 years old from different generations work together by interacting with each other in schools, and the age gap between newly appointed teachers and those who qualify for a pension is gradually increasing.

Most of the issues confronted at workplaces where people from different age groups work together are based on generational differences of perception, method, practice, and communication (Keleç, 2011). Research has indicated that different generations exhibit different learning styles, different manners of work, and different value priorities. These differences may result in intergenerational conflicts that compromise organizational performance at times. Organizations must therefore seek to reconcile differences in the workplace and utilize this individual and organizational advantage of diversity by educating and developing employees. They must try to create new organizational cultures that value and optimize generational diversity (Igloo, 2008).

Much research has indicated that inexperienced teachers with only three years experience are less efficient than senior teachers, and the effects of experience emerge after 5 years. …

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