Title

Student Journals: A Means of Assessing Transformative Learning in Aging Related Courses

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2015

Publication Title

Gerontology and Geriatric Education

DOI

10.1080/02701960.2014.983499

ISSN

1545-3847

Abstract

In courses where topics are sensitive or even considered taboo for discussion, it can be difficult to assess students’ deeper learning. In addition, incorporating a wide variety of students’ values and beliefs, designing instructional strategies and including varied assessments adds to the difficulty. Journal entries or response notebooks can highlight reflection upon others’ viewpoints, class readings, and additional materials. These are useful across all educational levels in deep learning and comprehension strategies assessments. Journaling meshes with transformative learning constructs, allowing for critical self-reflection essential to transformation. Qualitative analysis of journals in a death and dying class reveals three transformative themes: awareness of others, questioning, and comfort. Students’ journal entries demonstrate transformative learning via communication with others through increased knowledge/exposure to others’ experiences and comparing/contrasting others’ personal beliefs with their own. Using transformative learning within gerontology and geriatrics education, as well as other disciplined aging-related courses is discussed.

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