Yesterday I was explaining to someone how remarkable the differences are of the generations of learners, Baby Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. I had mentioned how the characteristics of Gen Y learners totally fit my son and how seeing these characteristics in writing suddenly made me tolerant of behaviour that had previously frustrated me. To be specific, Gen Y’s assume we want their opinion, need constant feedback, strong need for social interaction, and work to fund lifestyle. As you can imagine having this 24/7, (as a mother who gives her opinion when asked, needs only occasional feedback because I know when I have done good work, likes to work independently and works to live), can be the cause of some frustrations. My point is, once I realized these were characteristics of Gen Y I suddenly began to relish my son’s behaviours because “he is supposed to act this way”. This same attitude immediately shifted over to my view of my learners. Once I realized these were characteristics of their generation I relished them and was excited at the prospect and challenge of using these characteristics to facilitate learning. Through knowledge of characteristics my perspective and attitude towards my learners had changed.
“Treat people as if they were what they ought to be and you help them become what they are capable of becoming.” Goethe