ROMA PEOPLE IN INTERGENERATIONAL LEARNING – EMERGING APPROACH TO LEARNING
Intergenerational learning brings many benefits to individuals and society. It is based on mutual learning amongst generations with learning outcomes for each participant. Lifelong learning is challenged as a concept as it should be able to deal with diversity, marginalization and variety of social contexts while trying to promote inclusion and equity in societies. The article discusses intergenerational learning as a concept developing the educational potential of an adult, described as the ability of an individual to develop their personal attributes, to overcome problematic situations and to reach his/her objectives by andragogical intervention. Taking into consideration the Roma people, as one of the most marginalized ethnic groups (minority) in Slovakia, the following research question is raised: How can intergenerational learning, so widely beneficial, develop the educational potential of adult Roma?
Roma families are of open communication amongst family members, they often live more generations together in common household and thus potentially open to intergenerational learning. The research had a qualitative design that included individual interviews and focus groups conducted with Roma parents and teachers (37 interviewees overall), which was then evaluated by thematic content analysis. It should be noted that only preliminary findings are presented in this article. The results showed that amongst parents, the future education of their children was of greater value than the education they originally achieved. Their future is significantly linked to children’s development, which clearly represent a source of joy and happiness in their life. It was common for parents to prioritize the education and future of their children over their own. However, there were cases identified in which parents agreed they had learned something from their children: use of internet, social media and new technologies. Intergenerational learning clearly exists within Roma families, but is widely unintentional. Those families in which its use was intentional (stimulated by external intervention), the effect on children as well as Roma parents was beneficial. Common learning – mothers with children – occurs very naturally and can be structured, content based and intergenerational. Educational institutions such as schools can be highly effective facilitators of this process.
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