Teachers Talking i‐Gen: Post Millennials Rising?
As Homer wrote: “Like the generations of leaves, so are the generations of mortal men.” Current marquee labels for those born between 1995 and 2012 are “i-Gen” or “Generation Z.” According to Forbes, i-Gen members make up twenty-five percent of the United States population and outnumber both Millennials and Baby Boomers. The Teachers Talking series for 2018 – 2019 will focus on challenges and opportunities we are encountering while working with the current “i-Gen” generation of students. Jean Twenge’s controversial 2017 book, i‐Gen: Why Today’s Super‐Connected Kids Are Growing Up Less Rebellious, More Tolerant, Less Happy and Completely Unprepared for Adulthood links i-Gen’s distinctiveness to “how they spend their time, how they behave, and in their surprising attitudes toward religion, sexuality, and politics.” (Twenge)
Though we always need to question and debate the very value of generational categories, FCT has over the years found it helpful, in conversations with colleagues across disciplines, to reflect on intellectual and behavioral trends we have observed in our current students and to strategize about how to most effectively connect and work with them. This series will focus on questions about effective pedagogy and student agency. These sessions will also allow follow up on questions about this topic that surfaced at the FCT Open House on September 4th. At this first event on 10/11, we will begin interrogating the patterns and characteristics of our current generation of students by discussing questions such as:
- In what ways are students growing up differently? What are the implications for our teaching? Are we so different from i-Gen? How much like i-Gen are we?
- To what extent should student preferences drive pedagogical decisions?
- How do i‐Gen students interpret concepts such as trigger warnings, safe spaces, and
- A 2017 McGraw Hill poll of faculty indicated that students were less willing to ask questions and participate in class than they were five years ago. Are we experiencing this at Muhlenberg? Do we see the characteristics described in the suggested readings for this session (links below) in our own students?
- How does one determine the appropriate use of technology for these students? Given the degree to which i-Gen students learn on line, how can we best teach them to evaluate and analyze content? What positive role can social media play in a student’s scholarly development?
- Do the spaces we teach in align with i-Gen’s needs?
- How can we manage the prevailing campus “culture of busyness” so that it does not compromise student’s academic achievement and intellectual development?
FCT would like this βirst conversation to help us move toward identifying behaviors and approaches that promote better understanding and more effective teaching of i-Gen students at Muhlenberg. We ask that you peruse the following two articles prior to the session:
Other recent references: