The iELT Blog

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12
Apr

5 things you may be getting wrong with Gen Z in your classroom

A whole generation is entering the world of education, yet not many seem to be talking about it.

Introducing Gen Z. Born 1996-2010.

Usually, people’s first reaction is, “Wait! Aren’t they Millennials?”.
No, they are not. In fact, they are quite different.

I’m a Millennial and there is not a day that goes by where you don’t hear about us. The most analysed generation in history. We talk about Millennials so much that we can’t even imagine a whole new generation showing up at school.

Gen Z. The oldest ones are already in their early twenties. They love Snapchat and Instagram and have no experience of pre-digital life. Most of their entertainment is consumed on a cell phone and if a video is longer than thirty seconds, there is a good chance they’re hitting delete. If you’ve got this far into this post, you’re clearly not a
Gen Z-er, since your attention span is longer than eight seconds.

If you are like me, teaching in a private language school, you might have four different generations in the same classroom working side by side. However, as teachers, are we doing enough to understand these learners? I believe we aren’t. Do we even need to pay attention to generational differences? I believe we do.

We have a whole new generation entering education. A generation that has witnessed technology disrupt and turn industries upside down: the world’s largest taxi company owns no taxis (Uber), the largest accommodations provider owns no real estate (Airbnb), the most popular media creates no content (Facebook). Yet, often Gen Z-ers are taught by teachers who are trying to use 21st century technology in 20th century learning environments using 19th century pedagogy.

We have a whole new generation entering education. It doesn’t happen that often. For some of you, it will be the last generation you ever have to worry about getting to know. For others, it will be the first time you’ve welcomed a new generation and it won’t be the last.

We can’t just ignore them. By learning about their traits, we can understand how to keep Z-ers focused and motivated, how to help hem gain skills and knowledge needed in the future. Where might we clash with Gen Z? Where will we click?

Join me at 13.25 in Room 21 where we will take a closer look at how to engage with and understand Gen Z – a whole new generation of students who are already helping to shape the future.

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