Teaching to Baby Boomers
Baby Boomers were born between 1946 – 1964. Although they don’t make up much of our student population, many are going back to school and we find ourselves in situations where we teach to “boomers.” Personally, I teach baby boomers all the time– in seminars, at conferences and other events. You might not find yourself teaching to this generation day to day, but it’s good to know how to teach them if you ever do.
Teaching older people can be quite intimating. They’re often set in their ways and don’t take criticism well. But boomers also tend to be very thoughtful, intentional and great team players. Every generation comes with good and bad characteristics. Teaching is about learning how to educate all different types of people.
I have a lot more material that I cover in my full Generational Teaching program, but here’s a quick breakdown of common characteristics of baby boomers and how to deal with challenging situations.
- Incredible work ethic
- Crusade causes
- Team player
- They love to have meetings (discuss things)
- In person communication
- Question authority
- Don’t appreciate feedback
- Need to be factual
- They want to feel valued and needed
- Value family
- Work to live
- Needs interaction
- HOPE to graduate
CHALLENGE: Constantly questioning the things you’re teaching and wanting reasons to back up your answers
WHAT TO DO: Speak in facts. Be logical. Teach with confidence. Know your material.
CHALLENGE: Can’t take criticism.
WHAT TO DO: Use “I” statements instead of “you.” Positive – negative – positive sandwich.
CHALLENGE: Thinks they’re the hardest worker in the room.
WHAT TO DO: Validate them and give them a task.
CHALLENGE: Low self-confidence (especially around techy stuff).
WHAT TO DO: Make them feel needed. Put them in a group with tech-savvy individuals.
CHALLENGE: Needs to build a binder of papers, etc.
WHAT TO DO: Give them websites to visit and encourage them to print out material.
CHALLENGE: Don’t like to be told to be quiet.
WHAT TO DO: Engage them a conversation or classroom discussion. Give them an opportunity to respond, but be in control of the conversation.
Never underestimate the power of an educator!