Introduction: Internship Report Sample
Because of the enlightenment, globalization and the social movements; these days, the world has become as one village. People can know about other countries and other cultures through modern ways of communication as television, radio and the Internet. As it known, all people around the world are equal in their needs for food and drink and safe, as well as the need to crate social relationships and friendships. In recent years, the numbers of immigrants are increased between countries and a lot of people traveling to different countries for studying or tourism. Therefore, there is an urgent need for people to know the culture of others and their customs or it will be a misunderstanding between cultures which may makes conflicts. As a Muslim Saudi student, I came to Canada not just for studying but also I have an obligation to explain to non-Saudis my culture and my religion as much as I can. Therefore, I chose the topic of my practicum, which is about “Explaining Saudi Culture to seniors in Halifax”.
Seniors and Pedagogy
According to Statistics Canada the population of those who are 65 and older in Nova Scotia is around 162900 out of an entire population of 948700. This is a percentage of about 17% (Statistics Canada, 2012). As the baby boomers age the government is turning to immigration in order to meet Canada’s need for growth. Teaching seniors has unique challenges in an adult learning context. As research for my practicum and the best way to deliver the material to this demographic I conducted a literature review into pedagogy tailored for the elderly. There have been numerous studies on the best methods for disseminating information for this age group. One study examined these methods from the perspectives of seniors themselves. The study confirmed that active involvement was critical to the seniors learning process. They prefer learning environments in which they can discuss points or work in groups to come up with their own opinions about what is being presented. Even in environments where the format was predominantly lecture based, the seniors found even a brief, 10 minute question and answer period to be very stimulating.
This kind of interaction helps the seniors to focus on the activity. A high percentage, 66% reported that as they got older it had become more difficult for them to remain attentive in learning situations, therefore mechanism like group discussions and question answer periods are especially rewarding for their demographic. At the same time seniors are also aware that these methods can be detrimental if the lecturer does not have a firm grasp on the situation. Participants can become disruptive with questions or use the time for questions to just talk about whatever they want to talk about. Therefore it is best that ground rules be set early on. Another valuable piece of information is that seniors want learning to be a social event. They tend to go attend lectures or events with friends or family that provide support for them. Even seniors who are not vocal in meetings are getting enjoyment. They continue to come because it provides them “something to look forward to. The lecturer and their delivery is also important. They should appear engaged and interested (Duay & Bryan, 2008). These are only a few of the key areas that learning for seniors should address. Overall I found this particular study very interesting and informative specifically because it involved discussions with seniors themselves and I attempted to incorporate them into the design of my practicum.
Preparation for Workshops
In preparation for the workshop I met with my mentor to get some suggestions on how to proceed with the workshop. My mentor for the practicum is Turki ALqahtani who is currently the principal of public relations in the Saudi club for students in Halifax. I was given some good general advice on the kinds of information the seniors might be interested in and how to about with advertising and laying the groundwork for the practicum. I met with the resident manager of my building to let him know what I was planning and to ask permission to post the posters in the lobby of the building. He was very positive about the series and gave his permission. I designed the posters and flyers for the workshop and put them up in December. I wanted to have the workshop series start after the holidays so they would be minimally disruptive to the potential participant’s holiday plans. I prepared informational brochures for the participants based on the topic for the workshop series. The practicum is scheduled to include six meetings. Each meeting centers about one topic or more. I am the main presenter and I take questions and suggestions from the audiences. It was like a discussion format In this way the seniors are engaged and involved. During the workshop I used the brochures and the laptop to illustrate my points. I wanted to have a casual social setting in keeping with what seniors enjoy about learning experiences. To that end I provided tea and other refreshments to give the impression of being in a café having a discussion among friends.
Workshop on Life in Saudi Arabia
In the first workshop I began by introducing myself and getting the group to introduce themselves. Then I talked about the culture of Saudi Arabia for women. Then I compared some of the differences in the culture between Halifax and Saudi Arabia and some of the things that Saudi women face when adapting to life in Canada. In general many Canadians and Haligonians in particular have an idea about Saudi culture because of the scholarships that the government offers to students every year. This has led to a large population of Saudi Arabian students. They are also informed through the media as well, though the accuracy of this source is sometimes questionable. The group was particularly interested in what I plan to do with my education after I graduate from university and how I will apply what I have learned in this workshop. During this first workshop the arrangement was more formal as the participants were just getting to meet me and each other.
Workshop on Learning and Education in Saudi Arabia
In the second workshop we discussed the educational system in Saudi Arabia. Topics covered included the role of teachers in the educational process and how the curriculum contributes to building the students’ identity. We also talked about the differences in the educational system in Saudi Arabia between the current environment and the past. In keeping with my desire to clear any potential misconceptions that Haligonian seniors might have about the Saudi government and their desire for progress, I also mentioned that the government cares about educating citizens and increasing the level of the education of people in both cities and villages. In this workshop the group participated much more than in the first workshop. They were very involved in the discussion because they had become more comfortable with me and each other.
Points to Consider
Twelve people attended the first workshop while 15 attended the second. I had anticipated interest from both genders however only females attended. This may be because of some gender bias in the signs that I am unaware of and will have to re-examine. Overall the participants seemed to benefit from the talk as well as enjoy the workshop series. The turnout of 12 people was very good. It seems that the seniors are happy that there is something they can attend in their own building. As the literature suggested they seemed to take it as a social as well as a learning event. Going forward that is something to consider. Increasing the social element may give the group an even more intimate feeling especially considering that it entirely consists of women. The interest that the group showed in the topic was also encouraging. It shows that there is a demand for frank and open discussion about new cultural groups in Halifax among seniors.
There are currently four workshops remaining in the practicum. I will continue with my discussion about lifestyle and culture in Saudi Arabia. Because the group is completely female, though there may be males joining at later dates I am considering that it might be valuable to focus more on issues that women would be interested in. Examples of topics would be marriage and family in Saudi Arabia, the dress and clothing of Saudi and Muslim women as well as career opportunities for women in Saudi Arabia. These were the areas that the participants were most interested in.
Overall I am very pleased with the turnout from the completed workshops. The 15 seniors who attended the last workshop were very lively and actively participated in the discussions. They were very comfortable about asking questions. Additionally it seems that they are enjoying the social environment as well. The setting seems to lend itself to creating friendships among the group. Based on the successes of the completed workshops it seems that overall the practicum is headed in the right direction.
Duay, D., & Bryan, V. (2008). Learning in Later Life: What seniors want in a Learning Experience. Educational Gerontology, 34, 1070-1086.
Statistics Canada. (2012). Population by sex and age group, by province and territory . Retrieved January 12, 2013, from Statistics Canada: http://www.statcan.gc.ca/tables-tableaux/sum-som/l01/cst01/demo31a-eng.htm
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