In a society where so many generations live and work together, it is necessary to set up tools that will allow them to understand, respect and learn from each other.
What comes to your mind when someone asks you about old and young generations? Probably you will think of stereotypes of each generation or how generations are different from each other. And possibly those stereotypes will be something negative rather than positive. How can we try to reduce those negative stereotypes of each generation and how can we decrease the generation gap? Most people know about what the concept of generation gap is and how it is increasingly growing in our society. Day after day, it is possible to see how there are bigger misunderstandings at all levels between the younger and the older generation. However, it is not too late to fix this and bring those generations together. Achieving this could be beneficial not only to the society but also economically speaking.
But even if getting rid of that generation gap sounds really well, it is not an easy task to make generations understand each other’s way of thinking, culture and habits. For this reason, it is necessary to find a tool that can actually help in building that bridge; and there comes intergenerational learning. What can intergenerational learning do for solving segregation of generation?
Intergenerational learning is not only a learning technique or learning process; it has something more in it. It brings different generations together into one learning process, no matter if they are younger or older generations, and it lets them share, communicate and discuss different ideas, perspectives, and opinions. Different from other traditional teaching and learning technique, in intergenerational learning, both mentees and mentors will learn something new from each other.
Intergenerational education can be done through many ways. The most common shapes it takes are via older people teaching or mentoring younger learners, young people helping older people in physical matters or both young and old generation together in a learning process. The most important point of intergenerational education is, however, how despite all the different types, it does not matter who is supposedly teaching whom; both participants learn something from each other. That is the reason why intergenerational learning is called a mutually beneficial learning process.
Younger generation and older generation learning, sharing and teaching each other makes them get even closer than before. Several researches have proven that intergenerational learning brings many positive outcomes to generation gap problems. It can be an effective tool for reducing negative stereotypes of each generation and promoting cooperation between them. Intergenerational learning is not just an educational tool but also tool for achieving a healthy and sustainable social environment. Most important, intergenerational education allows generations to understand each other and see through the eyes of the other; and this is how it can lead to an environment of care and respect between them.