I’ve always found society and people very interesting. One societal trend that has always interested me is generational differences. It is interesting how much it is believed that the era we are born during affects our values and behaviors. I like to think I’m not extremely similar to the people around me (individualism is a characteristic of my generation) so I don’t think I can be summed up by a list of characteristics. But I can definitely see how there is some validity to the list of characteristics that describes my generation. Of course everyone does have a different personality and a list to sum up an entire generation will have many exceptions. That said, the following is a popular list of characteristics used to sum up those born into generation y:
- Socially Conscious
I found an article the other week titled: Generation Y Children are Harder to Teach. The article discusses how students born during Generation Y (1981 to 1999, differs with every source) are more difficult to teach because they have grown up with technologies that provide instant gratification and entertainment. Life has become increasingly more about being entertained and making everything more convenient and efficient and students are less impressed by the teaching strategies of their teachers. Dr John Dunford from the Association of School and College Leaders said: “The job of the teacher is immensely harder than 10 years ago. A culture of ‘instant gratification’ is making today's schoolchildren harder to teach … Youngsters live in a world dominated by reality television and celebrities where success appears to come instantly and without any real effort … It is difficult for teachers to compete. Success in learning just doesn't come fast enough.”
Depending on the validity of this theory multi-sensory instruction has become increasingly important when teaching students born during generation y. Because these students are more difficult to entertain it is important to use instruction that will keep them engaged and focused. Programs like Reading Horizons and others that use multi-sensory instruction would be beneficial for teaching current students.
Despite this theory that generation y students are more difficult to teach I also found an article that discussed how generation y is the most education-minded generation in history.
From the article:
“Generation Y'ers are the most education-minded generation in history. Even more than their elders, they have the perception that a higher education will lead them to a better professional situation.”
So despite all the articles I found about generation y being harder to teach and not very career-oriented there is also solid debate in the other direction. Please share your opinions on teaching younger students and any trends you have noticed over the years or on this topic in general.