Wednesday, June 15, 2011
Leisure and Retirement Activities [i ii ]
On Monday afternoon, June 13, I picked up my phone and was notified by the Psychology Department secretary that one of our regular faculty members is ill and would not be able to teach her Intro Psych course on Tuesday afternoon. I was asked if I would like to substitute and teach the session for her. After a moments thought I agreed. It’s not so much that I miss classes taught in the summer; rather it gives me a chance to discuss some ideas about consciousness and body rhythms with students in their first psychology class. For me it was a leisure activity that also confirms that while I don’t normally teach in the summer, I am still an employee at Kwantlen until the end of August.
I wish to discuss this activity in the context of the two research articles related to leisure activity listed at the bottom of the blog entry that will be posted on Wednesday after I have taught the class.
First, I will make a few comments about the two articles. To set the stage Jopp and Heertzog state, “Preferences for and execution of specific activities are important features of everyday life.” This would explain, in part, my choice to take advantage of this teaching opportunity. I have already stated in previous blog entries, my goal of taking workshops in to the community as a form of continued teaching. I enjoy designing and presenting workshops.
On tuesday I spent the entire morning preparing for the lecture. As the hour approached I shaved, and put on my best clothes with white shirt and tie. It was like I was going to a “performance.” Interestingly the class was in the same classroom where I have been teaching my aging class. The broad lecture topic came from the textbook about body rhythms and mental states.
While there were interesting sub topics like drug use and dreams, I decided to focus on sleep rhythms and consequences for students who spend “all nighters” cramming for their exams the next day. It is found that this impacts on performance and alertness. The class went easily for the first hour and a half. Then we took a 10-minute break. About half the class returned for the last hour. At the end there was some were clapping.
I walked down the hall feeling good but with no interest in returning to regular work. The amount of time I spent preparing for the class was about the same amount of time it takes me to finish some of the more complex drawings I am doing as an explicit leisure activity.
In their article Dorfman and Kolarik assert, “For many professors, the distinction between ‘work’ and ‘leisure’ is often blurred” (I think that’s what happened yesterday.) Further more, “it is important to keep in mind that leisure activity is self-defined and it is the actors themselves who determine what the meaning of leisure is for them.”
The researchers indicated that among retired professors “…volunteer activities were the most frequently reported.” Ok on that one; I am a volunteer board member at the local seniors’ recreation centre. Retired professors reported participation in exercise and sports activities. For instance a 70-year-old retired male music professor said “I wanted to get my body in shape. I started taking a weight lifting class and started doing yoga… And I’m walking more than I had time to do before.”
It is cited that “Although a large majority of retired professors engaged in activities that are traditionally associated with leisure, nearly as many continued professional activities in retirement including research or other creative work…Professional work thus remained a central interest…” I consider my retirement blog as a professional activity.
Ok, so much for retired professors. Let’s turn our attention to the Jopp and Hertzog’ article. They used and extended version of the Victoria Longitudinal Study Activity Questionnaire. Some examples of items cited are: Exercise (jogging, biking & swimming); Craft (household repairs, woodwork/carpentry), (word games, cross-word puzzles, card games); TV (game shows, documentary, & news); Social Private (go out with friends, attend parties), Social Public (public talks, club meetings, Religious (attend church, meditation), Travel (out of town, and abroad), Experience, (business related), Development (needle work, write letters) and Technology (course in university, go to library, creative writing)
As you can see, we have a lot of options. Do you have interests in proceeding with some or all of the activities listed above?
[i] Jopp, D.S. & Hertzog, C. (2010). Assessing Adult Leisure Activities: An extension of a self-report activity questionnaire, Psychological Assessment, 22, (1), 108-120
[ii] Dorfman, L.T. & Kolarik D.C. (2005). Leisure and retired professor occupation matters, Educational Gerontology 31 (5), 343-361