AGE: Intergenerational discussions and learning in the digital age

In place for nearly 20 years, ApprentissÂge, a transgenerational co-education program allowing the pairing of retirees and 5th year students from Wilfrid-Bastien school in Montreal, almost disappeared due to the pandemic. Fortunately, he was able to reinvent himself for the 2020-2021 school year.

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ApprentissÂGE has been in place for almost 20 years, a transgenerational co-education program allowing the pairing of retirees and students of 5e year of Wilfrid-Bastien school in Montreal, almost disappeared due to the pandemic. Fortunately, he was able to reinvent himself for the 2020-2021 school year.

"The Apprenticeship program (Learn with Elders in English) does not purport to solve the problem of retiree loneliness by pairing them online with 5th grade students. Nonetheless, our small contribution can certainly make a difference. The online formula allows us to keep the program on a solid footing, ”says Pierre Poulin, teacher behind the project.

While in the years gone by, the Apprenticeship project took the form of intergenerational meetings in class, we had to start from scratch. Mr. Pierre succeeded in recruiting retirees fairly comfortable with technology and interested in video communication to maintain the project. Some of the participants are also retired teachers or from other professions who wanted to establish contact with young people. It is important to salute them here for their commitment: Renée, Estelle (Quebec), Marie, Serge, Louise, Jean-Pierre (Montreal) and Françoise (Guatemala).

Concretely, the students of Mr. Pierre's class and the ApprentisSAGES meet for about 40 minutes at least once a week. Everyone introduces themselves, brings up discussion topics, proposes projects. Calligraphy and painting workshops have also taken place recently.

“The exchanges are enriching for both young people and retirees. They promote the sharing of knowledge and skills on both sides. The ApprentisSAGES are even invited to the online classroom platform. They can thus see and improve student activities, interact with parents, etc. "


Pierre Poulin is a great believer in the benefits of intergenerational exchanges and he has seen the positive results over the past 20 years. However, this type of project remains uncommon in schools here and elsewhere.

In order to create international bridges with French-speaking volunteers and to benefit from support, the program has been associated for several years with the global movement called Learn With Grandma, co-founded by Valérie Wood-Gaiger and Sugata Mitra, famous researcher at the head of the program A Hole in the Wall.

So Mr. Poulin was pleasantly surprised when he was invited to present the program during a international event on how to break isolation as a pandemic last November. The event was presented by World Learning and Digital Communication Network SouthEast Europe Hub. Guest speakers came from Canada, USA, India, Serbia, etc.

Retirees who would like to participate in the project are invited to contact the school principal, Isabelle Massé.

Dimension (s) of digital competence related to this article

5- Collaborate using digital technology
12- Innovate and be creative with digital technology

To see the Framework.

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About the Author

Martine Rioux
Martine Rioux
After studying public communication, Martine worked as a journalist for various publications, before pursuing her career as an interactive communications consultant at La Capitale, a financial group, then at Québec Numérique, an organization she took over as general manager before making the jump. as political advisor in the office of the Minister for Digital Government Transformation. Today she is the online Editor-in-Chief and Special Projects Manager at l'École branchée. Her dream: that everyone has access to technology and can use it as a tool for learning and opening up to the world.

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