One of the things academics are always encouraged to do is to achieve synergies between our research and our teaching activities.
In my experience, it’s relatively straightforward to put your research into your teaching materials, as long as you are lucky enough to be working on a course that has some relevance to your research (not always the case). It’s great when that is possible, because you (hopefully) end up with teaching materials that are both cutting-edge and deeply theorised.
Sometimes your reseach and your teaching get so beautifully synchronised that you can’t tell any more which is driving which, as happened for me last year with imagining futures.
But I also really like it when my teaching leads to research areas. That happened a little bit with the concept of ‘life courses’ last year, although it feels as if I haven’t got into that properly yet in research terms. And now I can see another possible one coming along.
I need to write a new section for K319 introducing and then critiquing the notion of ’Positive’ or ‘Active’ or ‘Successful’ ageing. This is a literature about which I know a bit but am no expert. My intial literature review found nothing suitable for students because the topic seems to get so quickly into (relatively) deep theory. One of my colleagues suggested I should write something more accessible myself. It does seem like the sort of thing I might write, since I’m interested in the topic and various people have told me that putting theory into relatively accessible terms is one of my Special Skills. It’s too late to do that for the K319 Reader, but that might be something I do in the future. Or I might not.
But either way, I need to gen up on the topic for K319 and I’m bearing in mind that it might turn into a more research kind of output too. So I thought I would do a sort of slow liveblog of how I get on with that project, even if it turns out to go nowhere in research terms.
Here’s pretty much my current summary of the debate, as sent to a producer who is creating me some film and audio clips to help introduce and personify the topic:
‘Successful/positive/active ageing’ means encouraging older people to remain physically and socially active, aiming to get away from the notion of older people as passive and needy. The critique is basically that that’s all very well, but it’s not possible for all older people, especially the oldest old, those on modest incomes and those without good health. There should be ways of being old that are not about being as much like a younger person as possible.”
I will post more when I have a better understanding of the topic than that.