Psychology in Action

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After a discussion about the power of our society's timing norms (i.e. the social clock) have students draw a line across the paper. The left end is marked birth; the right end is marked death. After marking the line with their current position (either their age, or the year) have them look ahead into their own future. What major milestones are they anticipating and when do they expect to reach them? Is their life plan more unique than just the social clock would predict? What major challenges or issues lie in the years just ahead? These topics could then be compared to the themes predicted by life span theorists such as Erikson. Brain-Based Learning Activity 10.3 - Who is Old? What is the point at which someone becomes old? Is there a certain age beyond which most people would be considered old? Are there other qualities (looks, health, activity patterns, mental attitude, work status, etc.) that you would look for in deciding whether a person is old? Assuming that the course instructor is somewhat older than the majority of students, it is often useful to share how your own definition of "old" has evolved as you traveled from the early twenties to your current age. These simple unstructured questions can elicit a great deal of evidence of "ageism" or at least the preoccupation of our culture with youth. BY FAR the best tool to introduce students to the multiple issues of aging is a video by Ken Dychtwald called, "The Age Wave". I have not listed this video in the Films & Video section since it is no longer offered commercially. It was distributed by Blue Cross of California and I urge all instructors to ask among their colleagues for a copy. The video is short and entertaining but also extremely thought provoking. It would be a perfect complement for this discussion. Instructor's Resource Guide                               Chapter 10                                          Page  70        
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  C ritical T hinking Critical Thinking Exercise 10.1 - Developing Empathy: Helping Students Deal with Grief As discussed in the text grief is a topic of concern and difficult for all of us. We are often ill-prepared to deal with our own painful feelings or those of others. Our aversion and lack of preparation can lead us to make clumsy mistakes when dealing with others and to feel needlessly alone and isolated during our own difficult times. This exercise is designed to directly confront the issues and pain associated with important losses (death, divorce, breakups, etc.). It will help students improve their empathy for others (an important skill of critical thinkers) and will provide specific techniques for dealing with grief. Time: You will need a full class period to maximize the effectiveness of this exercise.
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