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Changing the Way We Communicate with Generation Z

Did you know that public educators are quitting their jobs at a faster rate than some schools can replace them? As of last year, “public education employees are leaving their jobs faster than ever recorded,” reports government data reviewed by The Wall Street Journal.

“Teachers, janitors and other education professionals departed their jobs at an ‘average rate of 83 per 10,000 a month’ in the first 10 months of 2018. It’s the fastest resignation rate since the Department of Labor began measuring these statistics in 2001.”

Why is this happening? 

Reasons for Teachers Jumping Ship

There are various reasons for educators leaving their positions—including low wages, small budgets, classroom conditions, expectations, and, of course, the students themselves. I’d like to focus on students here because it’s what I think we can change most efficiently.

Three high school faculty members recently told me they had resigned after becoming teachers as a second career. Each of them had begun their careers in corporate America and thought they’d give back before retiring. At least for them, the teaching gig didn’t last long. They shared some reasons for their decisions:

  • Students don’t respect teachers these days.
  • Students don’t pay attention long; it’s too much work.
  • Students get distracted by their phones and by social media.
  • Students seem disinterested in learning the subject.

I wonder if at least part of the answer to this new trend is changing the way we communicate.

The Needs of Generation Z Are Different

Remember the reality of Generation Z. Today’s students are:

  • Exposed to lots of information at very young ages through a portable device (ages 3-4)
  • Grow up in an on-demand world, enabling them to consume content at any time
  • Receive as many as 10,000 messages a day (notifications, feeds, pop-ups)

By adolescence (middle school, high school, and college), we must change the way we teach. We must begin to move from mere pedagogy to andragogy—adult learning methods:

  1. Pedagogy: to lead and instruct children
  2. Andragogy: to lead and instruct adults

Andragogy refers to methods and principles used in adult education. This teaching method has received more airtime with so many non-traditional students returning to school to increase their education via college courses. Adults are incentivized differently than kids are, bringing so much knowledge into the classroom. But since so many teens have been exposed to adult information, does it not make sense that we may need to incentivize them differently than past generations of kids?

While the term was coined by German educator Alexander Kapp in 1833, American educator Malcolm Knowles created a theory regarding adult education between 1945 and 1965. Based on Knowles’s assumptions, I offer an andragogic game plan for you as you teach and connect with today’s students.

How to PROVE Generation Z Can Learn

Below is an acronym to help you connect, communicate, and teach students today. It spells the word PROVE and enables you to help Generation Z prove they can learn. These ingredients empower you to walk them through steps of learning:

Your Game Plan: Letting Students PROVE Themselves

Below are ingredients that set the stage for students to own their learning. I use this as a sort of lesson plan. They must PROVE themselves:

P – Problem

Students engage when their work stems from real-world problems and what they learn actually solves those problems. Begin with a problem, not a curriculum. This gives them a why.

R – Relationships

Students engage when connecting and sparring with others in the learning process. They learn better from those they believe actually like them. Community is key. This gives them a whom.

O – Ownership

Students engage when they can determine the course they take to reach their goals. This enables them to practice metacognition. It belongs to them. This offers control and gives them a how.

V – Visuals

Students engage when their imagination is sparked by images and stories. The visuals actually enable them to retain what they learn. Learning becomes memorable. This gives them a what.

E – Experience

Students engage when learning involves experiences and project-based learning. The experiences actually teach them to observe, calculate, and conclude. This gives them a where.

Talk It Over: How can you better practice these ingredients?

This piece is a small excerpt from our new book, Generation Z Unfiltered—Facing Nine Hidden Challenges of the Most Anxious Population.

New Book: Generation Z Unfiltered
Available Now $16.99

Our new book is now available now! This generation of students who have grown up in the 21st century are the most social, the most empowered, and also the most anxious youth population in human history. If you are struggling to connect with and lead them, you are not alone. The latest research presented in this book, however, illuminates a surprising reality: The success of the next generation doesn’t depend entirely on them. Their best chance of success starts when adults choose to believe in them, challenge them, and walk with them through the nine greatest challenges today’s youth will face. For their sake, and for the future success of our world, it’s time we started seeing Generation Z—unfiltered.

From decades of research and hands-on experience, Dr. Tim Elmore and Andrew McPeak collate their conclusions into one resource that helps adults:

  • Understand the differences between Generation Z and previous generations – including the Millennials (Generation Y)
  • Discover the nine unique challenges that Generation Z is currently facing and how you can help them practically address each one
  • Develop coping skills in students to help them overcome their high levels of stress and anxiety
  • Cultivate grit and resilience in young adults that will allow them to bounce back from future setbacks
  • Apply proven, research-based strategies to equip teens and young adults to reach their potential

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  3. CHEE-PENG TAN on October 30, 2019 at 8:22 am

    Agreed with most of your ideas, but I am struggling with the concept of society changing everything to accommodate this generation. We, as the employer, are seeing a generation of workforce that imposes their habits onto the workplace, frequently affecting the functionality and productivity of the working environment.

    Productive society function through meaningful interaction of all parties and we seem to ignore the concept of teaching this generation to adapt to the needs of the forward generation as well.

  4. […] post Changing the Way We Communicate with Generation Z appeared first on Growing […]

  5. Rocky Bellows on November 1, 2019 at 7:38 pm

    The last generation was nearly ruined with video games that their lazy parents furnished them. This generation is done for unless they have their cell phones taken away and all of their gaming devices. That is the only way we will raise a generation of hard working adults and I emphasize the word adult. Right now all I see coming is a generation of cry babies that think they are entitled to a free ride and are totally stressed out from looking at what everyone else is getting that they don’t have. Again I blame the parents and grandparents. Children don’t need cell phones. When you have children from age 4 to16 who have cell phones that they stay up all hours of the night with and constantly look at during the day it is no wonder they or turning psychotic and depressed and are incapable of learning in a school environment.
    Parents, do your job and teach your children respect. They need to know that no means no! They need to learn that just because their friends have something that doesn’t mean that they need those things as well. If you don’t, be prepared to have them living in your basement all their lives or in prison where they will learn that wrong actions do have consequences and there are no free rides!

  6. Lisa Wadsworth on January 8, 2020 at 1:41 pm

    What’s up to every , because I am in fact keen of reading this web site’s post to be updated daily.
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Changing the Way We Communicate with Generation Z