A review and critique of the portrayal of older adult learners in adult education journals, 1980-2006

Li Kuang Chen, Young Sek Kim, Paul Moon, Sharan B. Merriam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The aging population is a worldwide challenge. Understanding how older adults have been portrayed would provide a foundation on which future scholarship can build. This study assesses and critiques the assumptions underlying the portrayal of older adults and their learning in adult education journals from 1980 to 2006. On reviewing 93 articles in five adult education journals, three themes emerge. First, older adults have been portrayed as a homogeneous group in terms of age, gender, race, class, ethnicity, and able-bodiedness. Second, older adults have been viewed as capable and motivated learners with few cognitive or physical limitations. Third, programmatic responses have been driven by the life context of older adulthood. Of the 93 articles reviewed, 26 are empirical studies. The findings are discussed and suggestions presented for future research and scholarship on older adult learners.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3-21
Number of pages19
JournalAdult Education Quarterly
Volume59
Issue number1
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Nov 1

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education

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