Fostering social work gerontological competencies: qualitative analysis of an intergenerational service-learning course

Gerontol Geriatr Educ. 2010;31(1):92-113. doi: 10.1080/02701960903578378.


This article describes the development and qualitative student outcomes of an intergenerational service-learning course designed to promote social work gerontological competencies. Efforts focused on creating a learning environment to actively promote learning opportunities for students and older adults. The course was hosted at a local, private, not-for-profit senior housing location where older adults were invited to actively participate in the course activities. A total of 37 undergraduate and graduate students completed the course. Content and narrative analysis was conducted using text from a final structured reflective journal assignment. This analysis identified themes related to the "explicit" and "implicit" pedagogy of the course that details students' educational growth. The results of this study indicate that intergenerational service-learning coursework may help foster geriatric competencies among graduate and undergraduate students. The benefits of utilizing social work gerontological competencies to guide course objectives, content, and student outcomes are discussed.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged / psychology
  • Attitude of Health Personnel
  • Clinical Competence*
  • Curriculum
  • Female
  • Geriatrics / education*
  • Health Services for the Aged / organization & administration*
  • Housing for the Elderly / organization & administration
  • Humans
  • Intergenerational Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Educational
  • New York
  • Organizational Objectives
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Program Development
  • Program Evaluation
  • Qualitative Research
  • Social Work / education*
  • Social Work / organization & administration
  • Students, Health Occupations / psychology
  • Universities / organization & administration*