Young people's perceptions of older people before and after an ethnodrama presentation
Research has shown that we presently live in an era where birth rates are low and life expectancy is high, drawing the conclusion that older people will be part of young people’s lives for longer. Intergenerational relationships refer to the relationship between two or more generations and are crucial for growth within both generations, young and old. There are many stereotypes attached to old age, and it has been found that young people take on these stereotypes through the media and society. The aim of this study was to explore young people’s perceptions of older people before and after an ethnodrama presentation. Programme evaluation which forms part of applied qualitative research was used. The participants for the research were selected from four schools across Gauteng through convenience sampling, and their ages ranged from ten to sixteen years old. The presentation consisted of an icebreaker and the ethnodrama, which is defined as the dramatisation of researched data. The ethnodrama aimed at generating a better understanding of older people, and refuting negative perceptions associated with older people and aging. It was specifically aimed to tell a story of how older people are living in South-Africa based on previous research. The data, to determine the participants’ perceptions of older people, were collected by means of questionnaires containing open-ended questions. The data were obtained before and immediately after the presentation of the ethnodrama. Thematic analysis was used to transform the data into meaningful information. Findings in this study were not intended to generalize or prove the efficacy of the programme, but to establish how young people perceive older people and whether an ethnodrama presentation had any influence on these perceptions. The findings of the evaluation before the presentation revealed that young people have ambivalent, stereotypical or favourable perceptions of older people. The evaluation directly after the presentation showed a more nuanced description of older people, whereby younger people did not just describe them according to their identities as older people, but also described the relationship between young and old, and expressed an understanding for older people’s needs. In conclusion, the ethnodrama seemed to have an impact on younger people’s perceptions of older people, although stereotypical perceptions remained throughout the study. It is recommended that young people are encouraged to interact with older people from a young age in order to base their perceptions on first-hand accounts of experience gained through these interaction, and possibly dismiss any negative perceptions they may have.
- Humanities