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Teaching Across Generations

Effective Teaching and Learning Department instructionaltech@baker.edu


2005 Baker College

Opening Activity

Take a few moments and think about classes you liked as a student and then answer the following questions:
What is a good session to you? What makes you tune in to a session? What makes you tune out? What are qualities of a good instructor?

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Objectives

Compare characteristics of the Silent, Baby Boomer, Generation X, and the Millennial generation Compare and contrast differences between generations related to learning and teaching Select teaching strategies to meet the needs of different generations
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Who Are Your Students?


Average age? Gender percentages? Working at least part time? Race


African American Caucasian Other Female Male

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Children? Transfer students?

Who Are Adults?

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Knowles identifies an adult as one who has arrived at a self-concept of being responsible for ones own life, of being self-directing but no particular age In contrast, many adults will often revert to more childlike behavior in the classroom, waiting for the instructor to make all the decisions

What Is A Generation?

Normally a 20-22 year span Strauss and Howe (1991) define a a generation as possessing certain characteristics, shared values and beliefs Often defined by significant events experienced as a unit such as:
Vietnam war Columbine World War II

Events of one generation have ripple effects on other generation


Sexual revolution for Boomers, Silents, Generation Xers 6

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What Generations Are in Your Classroom Right Now?

Silent
1925-1942

Baby Boomers
1943-1960

Generation X
1961-1981

Millennials
1981-2001
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Small Group Discussion

Form groups of 4-5 and answer the following questions:


What is the easiest generation to teach and why? What is the most difficult and why?

Elect a spokesperson and be prepared to share your answers with the group.
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Who am I?
Some of the successful movies released in this era were The Omen and the Exorcist. What generation were children during this era? Silent Boomer Gen X Millennial

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Activity

Obtain a set of materials from the facilitator Place the individual characteristics into the correct generation Check your work using the handout provided by the facilitator
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Silent Characteristics

Small generation GI (previous generation) were their role models


Characterized as a generation of jealousies and role reversals

Want to humanize the world the GI generation conquered


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Who am I?
Nintendo [video games] symbolizes a trial and error approach to solving problems. Losing is the fastest way to mastering a game because losing represents learning. - Oblinger, p. 40
To which generation is this quote referring? Silent Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials
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Boomer Characteristics

Seen as new in every sense No real sense of generational identity


Focus is on the individual

Grade inflation is high


Overall SAT scores decreased from 46-60

Standard of living is both better and worse than parents


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Gen X Characteristics

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Smaller than both generations before and after Sometimes called the modern Lost generation Adult oriented from an early age Raised in an age where death surrounds them First to seek the work/life balance
Mostly in response to the Boomer workaholic mentality
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Millennial Characteristics

Special Optimistic Conventional Grade inflation high again Materialistic Group oriented
Individual at times
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Who am I?
This generation shifted from an elder-focused rising adulthood (where they looked to the members of the previous generation as role models) to a youth-focused midlife. - Strauss and Howe, p. 281
To which generation is this quote referring? Silent Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials
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Activity

Using what you know about the generational traits, identify the generation targeted by each ad campaign on the handout provided.

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Silent Learning

Likes a traditional classroom structure Does not like to contradict or disagree with instructor Does not enjoy being singled out in group discussions or for questions Likes to practice alone, not in groups
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What Can You Do?


Organize materials in bullet/outline form Use at least 12 point type This will help Boomers too Take your time through the important points Dont assume that all are techno phobic
Fastest growing segment of the population using the Internet

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Boomer Learners

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Enjoy working in creative and independent manners Sensitive to criticism Possess significant professional experience Require lots of interaction and talk time Enjoy icebreaker and introduction activities Prefer a spirit of collegiality in classroom
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What Can You Do?

Give plenty of time for Boomers to practice new skills Do not generally like role-play exercises Like team projects Organize materials with headings and relevant information underneath
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Who Am I?
"Plagiarism is the most serious of academic misbehaviors, but the pressure to achieve desired outcomes can blur the ethics for the overly ambitious" - Robert DeBard, 2004, p. 43 To which generation is this quote referring? Silent Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials

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Gen X Learners

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Consider themselves fiercely self-reliant Require regular, if not constant, feedback May lack interpersonal skills Can be cynical Are often impatient Consider themselves to be technologically capable Are adaptable and informal
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What Can You Do?



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School/life balance is important Use pop-culture examples Give lots of individual attention Use most exciting material in short lecture (15-20 min) Use bullet points when giving info Use plenty of graphics and white space
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Millennial Learners

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Accustomed to group work Comfortable with active learning Multi-task with ease Technological experts Goal and achievement oriented Require more structure and mentoring Motivated by money and earning potential
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What Can You Do?

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Give lots of activities with several steps Use the most up-to-date technology and references available Tie course or program goals in with economic gain Get creative or allow them to with presentations, etc. Give reading materials for lectures or supplemental information
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Who am I?
This generation has been the biggest market for self-help books and they like audiotapes so that they can learn in the car. - Zemke, Raines, and Filipczak, p.4
To which generation is this quote referring? Silent Baby Boomers Gen X Millennials

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What Works For Everyone


Ask for professional experiences from both Boomers and Xers Change activities often Tap into the technological savvy and interest of Xers and Millennials Assign group roles for the first few team projects Work to foster a team environment

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Consider the use of formal groups with clearly defined roles that are rotated throughout the group
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What Works (Cont.)



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Require participation in some form each class period Enforce individual accountability for group projects Find the right mix of guidance, structure, and visibility for all groups Encourage discussion between the groups Recognize excellent performers individually Give individual work in addition to group work
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What Works Against You


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Trying to appeal to all generations in the same assignment Clashes will often come between Boomer & Xers and again between Xers & Millennials Not allowing enough time for groups to become comfortable with one another before beginning Not allowing students with experience to bring that into the classroom Ignoring generational differences completely Not asking students to stretch beyond their comfort zones
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Closing Activity

Look back on what you wrote for the opening activity and answer the following questions:
Do your notes match the traits of your generation? How closely? What are three things you learned or remembered from this session? What is one thing you will try and do differently next term in your classroom?

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Pair up with the person next to you Share your answers

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Questions?

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