One area that remained off the research radar is that interface between senior centers and learning programs, and hence, their potential to act as community-based learning hubs. Countering such a state of affairs, this article reports on an action research study to investigate the extent that a transformative learning program in a senior center can lead learners to improved levels of personal and social empowerment. The research project sought to meet its goal and objectives through the ‘action research’ design, by planning and executing a critical educational gerontological programme for persons attending a Maltese senior center. The learning program following a critical geragogical approach which encourages learners to discuss and problematize each theme in the curriculum. Pretest-posttest focus groups found the learning program to be successful in improving learners’ levels of personal empowerment as they acquired a strong awareness of how social differences are structurally produced due to inequities and discriminations based on social class, gender, and age differences. However, the quest achieving critical consciousness remained an elusive one due to immanence and internal agism, as well as the fact that political action arises as a lifetime narrative. Critical educational gerontology remains steadfastly hinged upon the ‘successful aging’ paradigm that overlooks how later life is also underpinned by ill-health, abjection, care relations, and loss of agency. It is hoped that this action research project acts as a catalyst for future studies in critical educational gerontology to be framed by a fourth age social imaginary.
Formosa, M., & Galea, R. (2020). Critical educational gerontology at a senior centre in Malta: Possibilities and limitations for critical consciousness. Educational Gerontology, 46(2), 59-71.
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