Yesterday, I began a list of observations that will help adults better understand and guide students today. Let me suggest another couple of observations about Generation iY:
Observation #2: They want an experience before an explanation.
Author, Leonard Sweet, describes today’s culture and its young people as EPIC: Experiential, Participatory, Image-rich, and Connected. Teachers must remember that a lecture isn’t enough anymore — or at least we cannot begin with a lecture. If we want to be heard, we must engage iYers’ interest with an experience that captures their imagination. They want to do or see something. They want action and interaction. Even if it is an old message, they are asking for a new angle on that message.
Don’t just ask yourself, “What do I want to say?” Ask yourself, “How can I say it creatively and experientially?”
Observation #3: They want a cause before they want a course.
If you want to seize the attention of student today, plan to give them a reason for why they need to listen to your words. For instance, if I want to spark a passion for world history or international justice, I must first expose students to a cause that interact with that issue.
Actress, Angelina Jolie, has confessed she grew up as a spoiled, rich girl living in Hollywood and spent much of her early life pursuing success as an actress and a model. Then she read a script for a movie called Beyond Borders. It was about a self-indulged woman who lived a life of privilege until she discovered the plight of refugees and orphans in developing nations. The script was a catalyst for Angelina. She took the next year and traveled to refugee camps all over Africa and Asia. She now is an international spokesperson for the UN’s Refuge Agency and gives a third of her income to such causes.
Do you agree? If so, is this why so many twenty-somethings have a difficult time transitioning into the workforce today?