TEACHER'S 10 Rs FOR REACHING ELDERS IN CLASS

Aging Today, July/August 2004 | Go to article overview

TEACHER'S 10 Rs FOR REACHING ELDERS IN CLASS


Ruth Harriet Jacobs

When the late Gray Panther founder Maggie Kuhn famously advised older people to do something outrageous every day, perhaps no one took the recommendation more to heart than Ruth Harriet Jacobs. The retired sociology professor, now age 79, has written nine books, among them, Be an Outrageous Woman (New York City: Harper Collins, 1997).

Currently, Jacobs teaches older adults at the Brandeis University Adult Learning Institute, Waltham, Mass., as well as courses at local senior centers. "Because so many colleges and other places have lifetime-learning programs with peer teachers or group leaders, they sometimes need help in knowing how to conduct these seasoned-citizen classes," she recently noted. To assist these peer educators, Jacobs developed "Dr. Ruth's 10 Rs for Reaching Elders in Class." She graciously allowed Aging Today to share them with our readers.

Realize there will be remarkable diversity in educational and life backgrounds.

Recognize all people's uniqueness and value. Avoid letting any "stars" dominate the class, and refrain from being a star yourself. Treat people as colleagues, not students.

Reward and rejoice in all contributions. Some elders have little opportunity to shine, so spread the sunshine around to all.

Remember to double-space handouts in a large font and dark letters because of the visual difficulties experienced by some older folks. …

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