Teaching social gerontology within the undergraduate curriculum can be challenging. Teaching social science to Nursing majors can sometimes make it more so, especially when students with social science backgrounds share the classroom, bringing together diverse viewpoints and alternative approaches to material. Students in general, at times, may feel distanced from the subject or look for “relevance” in their lives or connections to their other studies. For Nursing majors, moving from medically-based courses into the social sciences can bring both epistemological and ontological hurdles as students struggle with the fact that there might not be any “right” answers. Likewise, students with social science backgrounds may meet with difficulty in recognizing physiologically-based arguments and ethics of care. Exploring students’ reflective journal writing, this paper discusses successes and failures in teaching undergraduates in an upper-level social gerontology course. It critically examines the pedagogical practices and insights gained from reorienting the classroom to a more student-focused approach. It underscores the ways engaging students from different majors facilitated a more meaningful, holistic learning environment, and offers these as points of discussion for reflection on future teaching praxis.
|Keywords:||Pedagogy, Student-Focused Classrooms, Interdisciplinary Approaches, Care, Undergraduates|
Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology, School of Justice Studies and Sociology, Norwich University, Northfield, Vermont, USA