Description: Ninety elementary public school teachers were surveyed to find out where they obtained their teaching ideas. Seven popular elementary-level teaching periodicals, dated 1989-1999, were analyzed for aging-related content, and compared with 27 of the National Academy for Teaching and Learning about Aging (NATLA) aspects of aging recommended for students' learning. Results indicate that public elementary teachers obtain their teaching ideas from various places: teaching institutes or workshops; other teachers; ideas or lessons they develop themselves; and teaching periodicals. A large percentage obtain lesson ideas from teaching periodicals that they browse or read. This finding may assist NATLA in making recommendations to particular editorial boards. Surprisingly, few teachers obtain their teaching ideas from state and local curricular mandates. When the periodical issues were analyzed, aging-related content was categorized in four ways: informational articles with selected teaching or learning activities; articles describing intergenerational programs or activities; book reviews with selected learning activities; and book review titles mentioning older adult characters. Category totals among the 7 periodicals were highest in book review titles mentioning older adult characters and book reviews with selected learning activities. The content was compared to NATLA's recommendations for students' learning. The findings were not significant. The aging aspect that appeared most often in book reviews with selected learning activities was that most living things have life cycles of patterned biological changes, and/or that death and disability can occur at any age. Whether we formally teach them about aging or not, children learn about it. Earlier studies indicate that even preschool children may stereotype the aging process and/or older adults. Curricular and instructional ideas provided in teaching materials, even in an informal format can provide education, which prepares children for real life experiences.
Date: May 2001
Creator: Wimsatt, T. Joy