• Birgit Søndergaard Riisberg
  • Karen Plesner Christensen
  • Karen Marie Odgaard Lund
4. term, Master of Learning Processes (Continuing education) (Continuing Education Programme (Master))
Summary The group of citizens with other ethnic background makes up a growing number of the senior citizens in Denmark. In recent years this group has grown considerably, and the forecasts are that this group will grow even more in the coming years. This project focuses on the special conditions for this citizens group. We hope that we by this project can develop tools which may make it possible for elderly people with other ethnic background to obtain better conditions. Better conditions will help them make qualified choices in relation to the life which they want to live as elderly people in Denmark. Many of the elderly people with other ethnic background do not understand the Danish social systems. They do not understand the unwritten norms, rules and routines, which apply to the Danish society. Therefore they feel powerless and they feel that they loose control of their own life. The project is worked out as an action research course. We have involved elderly people with other ethnic background, and they have told about what is important for them in their life as elderly people. Through exchange of stories across three national groups together with stories from a group of elderly Danish people we have shown the elderly people various perspectives of how it is to be elderly people or senior citizens in different societies. The elderly people have related this new knowledge to their own thoughts and opinions, and because of this we have been able to exemplify possibilities of their future life as elderly people. In this way the elderly people have got the possibility to build up an intercultural understanding, which is characterized by the ability to familiarize themselves and to act in the multicultural complex-ity and have an eye for themselves, the local and the global. Through the action research we have created some frames which make it possible to increase intercultural understanding and to develop increased control in a persons own life – increased empowerment. The project establish in this way the possibility to create changes in practice, and it fulfil a wish about being able to build up a knowledge and to develop some tools which can help the individuals of other ethnic background to act with increased empowerment. To understand the learning which takes place when elderly people with other ethnic back-ground develop empowerment we analyse the progress thruogh understanding of learning based on Paulo Freire’s description of the Pedagogy of the Oppressed. We illustrate how learning has taken place talking about empowerment by the elderly people with other ethnic background, and how action research as method has contributed to learning. The project makes it plausible that intercultural understanding is developed within more areas, and that increased empowerment is reached also within more areas. The project has confirmed how important it is to meet the learner on his premises, because you can only create the basis of learning by meeting people using the dialogue as tool. Based on the process where the elderly people with other ethnic background have chosen generative teams themselves these people have obtained increased empowerment in some areas of their lives. In the light of Paulo Freire’s description of Pedagogy of the Oppressed it is very clear how much it means that we do not speak and act for these elderly people, but speak and act together with them, similar with the empowerment thoughts. Through the course it has become clear that obtaining empowerment is not a static condition, but it confirms that reached empowerment involves a new process which aims at increased empowerment at a new level.
Publication date2007
Number of pages122
Publishing institutionAalborg Universitet
ID: 13154718