At the start of the 21st century, average lifespans are nearly double what they were a century ago. Many countries now simultaneously enjoy and wonder how to support a growing older adult population. This changing demographic invites a deeper understanding of adult development and education. Civil society and social movements recognize the power of transformational learning and social action. While many education programs support and empower youth leaders as the drivers of social change, older adults are also seeking out continuing opportunities to learn, mature, and develop—whether intellectually, socially, or spiritually. Their hunger for learning may be in the service of greater self-knowledge, sustainable employability, greater political participation, or activism and community organizing for various causes; these individual and collective pursuits may seek environmental sustainability, lasting peace, social and environmental justice, or individual freedom, economic stability, and domestic tranquility. This course weaves a multidisciplinary study of adult development and curriculum theory to consider the following questions: How do adults learn and grow from the every day opportunities and challenges that life affords? What kinds of informal education exists for adults beyond formal secondary and tertiary education? And specifically, what forms of adult education aim to value, protect, and sustain all life—human and non-human? Through readings, guest speakers, fieldtrips, films, and facilitated discussions, this course explores theories of adult development, examines promising models of adult education, and assesses the value and feasibility of curriculum in service of an education for life. Evaluation will be based on mindful participation, an oral history or biographical research on a respected elder, a proposal for a conceptual framework, and a case study of a model program.
Prior coursework in psychology or education.
Always visit the Registrar's Office for the official course catalog and schedules.