Misfit. Often, this is how teachers feel when they enter the universe of young people. From consumerism to relationships, from work dynamics to the use of technology, everything seems to be turning around recently. And it’s true. The behavioral changes between generations have been maximized by the intense technological transformation of the last decades.
The Y and Z generations – born between the 1980s and the mid-1990s to the present day – are hyperconnected and get to school with different perspectives on education, career and life purpose. How, then, is it possible to connect with these students, speak their language and educate them? Here are some things to keep in mind:
Used to having spaces to speak and to be heard, young people want their opinion to be taken into account. They want to have the power of choice over the directions of their careers, studies and life. And that includes both more strategic decisions and small choices as when, where, and on which platforms to read a text or learn about a new topic. The new education should therefore offer support for learning, with the freedom of choice – so important for students.
If stability and financial return have guided life and career choices in the past, purpose now has a more important role. When making future plans, new generation of students want to connect with brands, institutions, schools, and businesses with purposes aligned with their values and that contribute to people, the environment, and society as a whole.
Relationship with work is another aspect that has undergone great changes in recent years. New generations value their free time and want to use it to develop personal projects. Flexible journeys are therefore essential. And speaking of fun, more relaxed work and study environments, that encourage creativity and innovation, without rigid hierarchies and that allow experiences exchanging is another important thing for these young people.
Hyperconnectivity has a great influence on the mentality and behavior of students today. With their cell phones always on hand and connected to the internet 24 hours a day, they find answers to most of their questions on the web. The traditional models of teaching are no longer able to answer their questions and desires, as they demand a deeper and more contextualized education.
The maker movement has also revolutionized education and the job market. Based on the do-it-yourself culture, it stimulates learning through practical experiences, in collaborative and experimentation environments. This is exactly the kind of experience that young people of Y and Z generations value in teaching, which stimulates creativity, dynamism and the entrepreneurial mindset.