Teaching to Generation X
Generation X includes those born between 1965 – 1980. They’re often called the “Lost” or “Forgotten” Generation because they’re sandwiched in between two of the largest generations (Baby Boomers and Millennials) in American history. As Milliennials in the workplace become more successful, Generation X often feels inadequate and they’re trying to keep up with the ever-changing landscape of the 21st century workplace environment.
They’re not completely behind on technology, but they’re not quick to embrace new technology either. For them, success is measured by the money in their bank account and they often struggle to find the workplace/home life balance.
These students are filling up post-secondary classes around the nation as they better fit the description of adult/non-traditional students. 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 Generation X and how to deal with challenging situations.
- Wants structure and direction
- Ask why a lot and challenge people
- Individual – prefers to work alone (Entrepreneurs)
- Direct and immediate communication
- Need continual feedback
- KNOWS they’ll graduate
WHAT TO DO: Know your stuff. Be prepared for their questions and anticipate what they might ask or question.
CHALLENGE: Self-reliant; would rather work alone
WHAT TO DO: Put them in a group, giving them their own task to own in that group.
CHALLENGE: Need continual feedback
WHAT TO DO: Offer it more often! Correct them on the spot with tactfulness.
CHALLENGE: Need to know everything immediately with a fear of missing something or getting left behind
WHAT TO DO: Create a syllabus, stick to a calendar with soft and hard deadlines, etc. Make sure your communication is clear if something changes.
CHALLENGE: Crave structure and direction
WHAT TO DO: Remove clutter, have clear expectations, allow them to sit in the same seat everyday, don’t throw them curve balls.
Never underestimate the power of an educator!