I’m originally from North Tonawanda, NY but now live in Ontario. My graduate training and degrees are in Lifespan Human Development and Gerontology. I have been at University of Guelph since 1999 and this past fall I was finally given the chance to teach the Adult Development and Aging course. Over the years I have been tasked with teaching all of our graduate statistics courses rather than teaching in my substantive area…aging!
Part of my agenda was to breathe new life into the ADA course. I included the classic Aging Simulation exercise (modified to fit 200 students rather than the usual small groups), assorted discussion groups, the requisite exams…and the best thing I did was to require students to read either “Tuesdays with Morrie” or “The Last Lecture”.
Their assignment was to pick either book, read it, and write a reaction paper discussing the connections between the themes in the book and our textbook, course material, and adult development and aging in general. I am happy to tell you that students felt that this assignment was the key component that gave them a new appreciation for the course material. Most students commented about how the supplemental book changed their viewpoint of aging, alleviated their previous fears of aging and death, and put into “real-life terms” what they had been learning all semester.
One of my students wrote to you to express how much she liked “Tuesdays with Morrie” and she was thrilled to receive a response from you. She even decided to change her major from psychology to Adult Development and Aging!
I have yet to read your latest book but it is on my list when I find some spare time. I thoroughly enjoyed Morrie, Five People, and One More Day. Your writing style speaks to readers and allows them to personalize the experience and connect to the characters as if they know them.
I would be happy to share some of the connections students made between aging and your book if you are interested.
Keep up the good work, keep writing, and keep humming to the songs in your head!
Institution: University of Guelph, Canada
Class Name:Adult Development & Aging
Class Grade: University, 2nd year