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Open Access Critical geragogy: A framework for facilitating older learners in community music

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The principal aim of this paper is to address the question of whether and how professional practice within an informal teaching and learning context (music) may be understood through a critical-geragogy lens. Secondly, we consider whether critical geragogy has relevance to and potential applications for enhancing practice among facilitators of older learners in community contexts. Geragogy refers to the management of teaching and learning for older adults and has become a well-known term applied to teaching and learning in later life. Critical geragogy retains the focus on older adults, but challenges the beliefs, practices, and structures related to ageing, supports older learners in overcoming alienation and developing a sense of powerful agency, and offers resources for purposeful collective action. In this paper we analyse the narratives of 13 facilitators of musical activities for older people, interpreting their reflections on practice within a critical-geragogy framework. The interviews, focusing on good practice in facilitating older learners, were carried out as part of the second phase of the Music for Life Project, funded by the UK Research Councils. A thematic analysis was undertaken, using a framework that was structured around person-centred, fellow-centred, and matter-centred goals. The interviews revealed that musical groups provided informal learning contexts where facilitators aspired to empower their participants through developing a positive interpersonal climate, valuing participation, using the participants' prior experiences as a resource, and guiding their groups towards creative expression as well as progression.

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Keywords: AGEING; CRITICAL GERAGOGY; FACILITATOR; MUSIC; OLDER LEARNERS

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: March 1, 2015

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  • Founded in 2003 by the UCL Institute of Education, the journal reflects the Institute's broad interests in all types of education in all contexts - local, national, global - and its commitment to analysis across disciplines using a variety of methodologies. It shares the Institute's aspiration to interrogate links between research, policy and practice, and its principled concern for social justice.

    Drawing on these strengths, LRE is a wide-ranging and engaging journal that features rigorous analysis and significant research across key themes in education, including: public goals and policies; pedagogy; curriculum; organization; resources and technology; and institutional effectiveness. Articles and book reviews are written by experts in education, psychology, sociology, policy studies, philosophy and other disciplines contributing to education research, and by experienced researcher-practitioners working in the field. The highest quality of reporting and presentation are ensured through an independent, anonymised peer-review process. As an entirely web-based open access journal, LRE has been able to offer innovative features and formats including: epistolary conversation; colour photos and illustrations; illustrative video clips.

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