According to (Chavez, 2006), higher learning education needs to emphasize very good learning outcomes especially for undergraduate students of aging as well as health courses. A high level of understanding is required for this group of students which calls for the application of effective principles of epidemiology as well as gerontology which should be accompanied by good teaching resources like websites. The main reason why effective strategies should be applied to undergraduate students is that they are very young to understand some concepts like those related to aging.
Objectives of Pedagogy in Aging and Health Courses
To start with, the instructor should make sure that students are well equipped with goals and objectives of aging as well as health courses. Goals are very important to students as they give them a starting point and keep them focused throughout the course. Examples of such objectives concerning aging as well as health courses include; application of scientific methods and knowledge in the evaluation of scientific claims reported through the media. Students should acquire an ability to differentiate between the concepts of causality as well as correlations that are related to aging and health claims. Another goal is the acquisition of an understanding of concepts in genomics, cellular biology, genetics as well as molecular biology and their application in aging biology. In order to have those objectives and others related to their courses understood by students, a number of strategies need to be applied. (Kirkwood, 2006)
Flexible Technology and Learning Spaces
(Chavez, 2006) argues that, for traditional lecturing, the instructor should make use of small-sized classrooms so as to study the behavior as well as each student’s level of understanding with PowerPoint projection being applied to present demonstrations. Students should be grouped in small groups to enable them to collaborate with each other while solving problems as well as data analysis of aging and health courses. Similar groups could also be effective in the discussion of ethical implications of research in aging as well as in health. Recording, filming, cinema, and poetry could also be of great help so as to improve the students’ level of understanding.
According to (Kirkwood, 2006), Undergraduate students studying aging and health courses have this working for them very well, as it brings relaxation in the practice of teaching. The breakout spaces should be applied after they have been put in small-sized groups in which they carry out discussions and other learning activities. The instructor should introduce an activity to be carried in groups and thereafter ask students to have freedom of either leaving their lecture rooms or have furniture rearranged for interaction enhancement. Those opting to leave lecture rooms could make use of other rooms or common spaces while those having furniture rearranged could roll chairs together while leaving tables in their respective places. This strategy of break out spaces helps improve the level at which students interact with each other during group discussions which is a necessity in the complex courses of health as well as aging. Group activities’ strategy of the jigsaw could also be effective, where the instructor uses a link in which he/she engages undergraduate students in groups, in discussions concerning their courses’ guide questions as well as articles. This allows students to focus on the subject of discussion as it reinforces what is learned during class lessons.
Interactive Learning Using a Link
The use of link technology makes the environment of a class shift from that of traditional lecturing to a student’s interactive workspace. The link should consist of six classrooms, eleven study rooms for groups, and four rooms for seminars. Some classrooms should have space for groups’ breakouts with recording capabilities of audio videos so as to have classroom activities captured. Multiple displays of flat panels, projections from more than one source at the same time as well as video conferencing are also effective strategies. Link technology offers students of health and aging courses, an environment integrating technology, classroom as well as a library with team learning and research. While using a link, the instructor can have a class divided where some students receive training on health issues from different software as the rest use a hall to conduct other discussions concerning health-related projects. Recording can be done to capture the training on health issues by use of a screen video that is used later in class. With the use of projection and breakout rooms of a link, an instructor can talk to a particular group in a room as others work from other rooms. In case one of the groups is found to have problems on an issue that seems to be similarly problematic to the other groups, an instructor can get on camera so as to broadcast to the rest of the groups in different rooms. (Chavez, 2006)
A link enables students and their instructors to have easy access to library resources as well as reverence librarians which equip them with the knowledge required, about their specific courses. Both courses require intensive research which makes library resources’ proximity an added advantage. Board space can be used for chronologies of two dimensions as well as for schematics of which the rooms are well equipped, including whiteboards on all walls to enable computer projections. Instructors of health, as well as aging courses, can be able to expand their small classes of the seminar to include more students as they maintain intimacy and activities of seminars in class. An instructor may also use a system of classroom response by allowing students to use clickers that are remotely controlled to give responses to those questions posted on slides by their instructor. Such a system is very helpful to students as it enhances their engagement in stimulating discussions. The use of technology, as well as space, facilitates interaction and discussions in small groups, giving students the feeling of learning in an environment of high technology.
Incorporation of Cinema and Poetry in Teaching
According to (Coates, 2005), this becomes very important especially when an instructor wants students to have critical thinking of the health of aging populations as well as aging itself. The absence of such strategies could make the instillation of empathy that is age-related to teenage students very frustrating. Instructors should offer supplemental readings to their students, giving them a greater understanding of aging as well as health-related concepts. Cinemas, as well as poetry, can be used in the process of humanizing aging concepts to undergraduate students, instilling old age’s loneliness in them. It also enables students to visualize life from a vision in the present, as well as in later years of life. However, if the instructor applying poetry in teaching, purely reads a poem on health aspects and their relation to aging, it would make the young undergraduate students bored with the whole idea of using poetry. Instead, students should be issued with copies of the poem long before a lesson, of which they should be asked to give reactions about in form of writing. They should then share their understanding of those poems in class enabling them to cover aging as well as health materials more enjoyably and effectively. While using cinemas, the instructors should not show them to the students in small bits like during breaks where students have the freedom to leave, as it is considered a non-effective pedagogy. Instead, students should be allowed to view the whole film and even better when viewed on screens that are large. The film can also be placed in the reserve section of their library allowing them to watch it at their own time. However instructors should give guidance to students on what is expected to be derived from that film so that they do not get confused and get a different idea altogether.
It is very clear that undergraduate students are only in their teens and need more relaxing strategies of pedagogy while learning aging and health-related aspects of their courses. Strategies that interest them most should be applied, such as the use of technology which is very broad and effective. This should involve projections, cinemas, video recording as well as cameras among other forms of technology. It has also been noted that poetry also interests undergraduate students and should also be applied to make their studies as interesting as possible.
Chavez V. (2006): Teaching public health through a pedagogy of collegiality: Am Public Health Assoc pp12-16.
Coates H. (2005): A critical examination of the effects of learning management systems on university teaching: Springer pp15-20.
Kirkwood A. (2006): Going outside the box: Elsevier pp20-27.