Generation Z at school

Friday, April 29, 2016

How well are our 19th Century Institutions connecting with 21st Century Students?

‘Schools are 19th Century institutions using 20th Century buildings to teach 21st Century students and we wonder why traditional education sometimes struggle to connect. So if they don’t learn the way we teach, then let’s teach the way we learn.’ – Mark McCrindle

The children of Australia are today’s students and tomorrow’s employees. And while each generation has passed through the student lifestage, Generation Z are the only ones to have done so in the 21st Century. They can be defined as being post-linear, post-literate, and post-logical.

They have been born into a time that has seen the printed word morph into an electronic form. Ironically, today an electronic document is perceived to have more currency, and therefore accuracy, than the printed page. Books give way to YouTube videos. The written word is replaced by icons and images. Education is shifting from structured classrooms to collaborative means, from textbooks to tablets and from reports to infographics and video presentations. Words in this global era are progressively replaced with symbols or universal icons. They have been labelled generation glass because it is this medium that communicates content: glass you don’t just look through but look at, and wear and carry and interact with.

Characteristics of today's learners

Post linear

While schools structure learning by subject, Generations Z live life in a hyperlinked world. For digital natives it is not a subject but a lifestyle. Teachers deliver formal lessons, yet students are experiential and participative. We test academic knowledge and memory in examinations yet they, with the always-on Internet, are living in an open-book world, only ever a few clicks away from any piece of information on the planet.

Generation Z and the emerging Generation Alpha are also the most technologically literate and socially empowered generation of children ever. They are highly intuitive and confident users of digital technology, with Facebook having been around more than a decade, and iPhones, iPads, apps and social media having been available to them from their formative years.

There are 4.5 million reasons to engage Generation Z, the students of today and university graduates, employees and leaders of tomorrow. What’s more, the future of education depends on understanding and engaging with these 21st century learners. In order to fulfil the demand for labour and to ensure the future of our employment sector, our education system will need to adapt to and accommodate the learning styles of today’s students.

Post literate

Note we use the term post-literate, not illiterate. They are writing more (emails) and sending more (text) messages, just in ways different to previous generations. The issue is that literate forms of communication alone just won’t connect in today’s visual world. Today’s learners are a multi-modal generation and therefore demand communication styles that engage multiple learning channels. While the chalk and talk teaching approach was the only style on offer in previous generations, this structured approach to classroom communication is far less engaging for today’s technologically savvy, multi-media, post-structured learners. Though many complain about the short attention spans of today’s youth, this is mainly exhibited in the context of old methods of teaching that largely involve passive models of communication.

Post logical

The language of today’s learners is one that communicates content as well as being exciting, social and creative. They value visual and interactive communication with quick and easy access to information. This is in distinct contrast to perception of the education system where learning and fun are seen as mutually exclusive. Learning must not just be an academic exercise- of logic and rationale, but a development experience- of social, emotional and visceral connection as well. The point is that students have changed, so approaches to teaching need to change as well.

Engaging with today's learners

It is excellent to see that schools and classrooms are responding effectively to these changing learning styles through the implementation of learning stations, shifting from ‘teacher’ to facilitator’, managing more group work, providing real world case studies, outdoor education and teaching through activity-based learning. This, to the credit of schools is how they’ve been able to engage with changing learner needs while maintaining educational excellence. That said, there are still more changes to be made. According to our survey on parents’ opinions on education, over 90 per cent would like to see schools work harder at engaging with students and making learning interesting.

Traditionally, children were pre-formatted to learn within a structured environment, having spent their preschool years in a household where formative character was set through routine, compliance and training. However, increasingly, many children enter formal schooling without such a background and when such a student does not complete year 12, it is said that ‘they failed school’ when actually ‘their school experience failed them’.

While in the past parents, extended family, Sunday school and the Scouts or sports teams all had a role in developing the character, values and socialisation skills of the child, today parents are juggling increasingly complex roles and the average young person is less connected with other formative institutions. Schools are increasingly the one social bottleneck through which young people pass and so have a key role of developing the whole person. That is, in addition to its academic aims, the education system is expected to develop people skills, character formation, life skills and resilience.

The four R's

Real

Not only must our communication style be credible, but we must be credible also. This generation doesn’t expect us to know all about their lifestyle, nor do they want us to embrace their culture. They are simply seeking understanding and respect. If we are less than transparent, it will be seen.

Relevant

Both the content and style in which we deliver it must be relevant to a generation which is visually educated and entertained. There is no point in going to a friend’s movie night with a rented DVD if they only have a streaming service. Similarly, we must communicate in the most appropriate format for those we are reaching. So in understanding the communication styles of our students we will be better equipped to reach them.

Responsive

Education can either be teacher-centric (traditional), curriculum targeted (with a predominate focus on state-wide testing) or learner focused (responsive to their learning styles and needs).

In a generation education has moved from ‘classes’ to individual learning plans. As part of the shift from students confirming to the system to education responding to the changing times, needs and learners.

Relational

The old saying in education circles still rings true for today’s students: ‘they don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!’ Communicating to this generation requires more than just good content and new technology – it needs engagement and involvement. The more we create an environment conductive to engaging with the head (knowledge), hands (application) and heart (inspiration), the more likely they learning will be embedded, opportunities enlarged and futures shaped.

Listen to Mark McCrindle on 2SER talking about the 21st Century classroom


McCrindle Education Services

For more information on our education services, including research and providing content and presentations for School Professional Development Days, Executive Staff Sessions and Parents Evenings, please refer to our Education Pack below, or get in touch - we'd love to hear from you!

P: 02 8824 3422

E: ashley@mccrindle.com.au

Welcome to our blog...

We have a passion for research that tells a story, that can be presented visually, that brings about change and improves organisations. And we hope these resources help you know the times.

Our Social Media Sites

Facebook | McCrindle Research Social Media YouTube | McCrindle Research Social Media Twitter | McCrindle Research Social Media Flickr | McCrindle Research Social Media Pinterest | McCrindle Research Social Media Google Plus | McCrindle Research Social Media LinkedIn | McCrindle Research Social Media Mark McCrindle Slideshare


Last 150 Articles


Tags

emerging technologies Research Executive sunny days world youth day meals New South Wales January 26th Australian Trends mining boom rain mateship dessert home owner gen z global financial crisis hello fresh neutral bay faux-cilising quote 10 years Netflix Myth Deaths Engineering Manager fears low density engage life suburbs staying in thought leadership divorce sydneysiders workplace culture EFF overcast home analysis recap communications 2015 education future cars language religion futurist Territory toys shopping new office economic future proofing economy media cold hornsby Births acf15 aged care news high school demographer change shifts work Australian Home Word Up social commentator average aussie define Caregiver suburban living eliane miles visual visualisation emerging generations The Daily Edition millennials mentor Australian demographics office opening future of work 40 million optus my business awards faux-cilise weather skills pyrmont repayments aussie culture priorities australian social research housing market Australians proactive youth financial dreams shopper's pick survey event professional speaker employers real school satisfaction woolworths Kiwi data analyst safe generational trends potts point leader Financial Planning Association of Australia TDE know the times wedding demographic NSW crime rising house prices learn entertainment couple paying to work results water mythbusters social Charlotte 2016 community event teleworking financial Australian schools population milestone 2012 politics social analysis responsive future sydneycity women education Sydney Adelaide Tuesday Trend social shifts mother's day debate SMSF rule keeper wealth gold coast PSI technology focus group qualitative research state residents Generation Y income village megatrends research data children World Water Day baby media release Western Australia New Zeland post rationalism WA student public speaking Channel 7 product tips rent baby name non profit motivate trends of 2016 royal states data sector wide study internet high density insights ACT 2013 victoria Financial Planning Week Population Clock leadership wages earn hills shire gender Christmas lunch menai Christmas presents in the media "know the times" communities media activity research visualisation supply and demand demographic transformations innovative cartodb System's Architect professional ipswich parents experience keynote innovation names celebration city statistics urban living capital cities survey design marrickville teacher demographics easy rider church baby boomers Channel Seven census intern teaching leadership workshop australian communities forum program training events award cancelling plans jobs of the future parenting TAS 2014 sustainable research services insight online social media FPA SA teach 2020 perth resource jobs huffington post investing charity tea social impact national crime rates family study population growth educated tuesday easter holiday learning styles English Australia Day selfie princess charlotte future-proof 1980 work-life wolloomooloo office IT Specialists land of the middle class 1994 mccrindle in the media mccrindle workshop cost earning internships workplace list networking Northern Territory brands socialites conference presentation education research property market criminal divorce rate households Mark McCrindle professional development going out gen alpha NEETs personal growth sector Australian Dream tableau optus the changing face of HSC grandparents Scouts social trends brand Queensland: QLD moreton bay organisations earnings transport sports father's day Australian Families business lalor park trends analyst education future report owning a home men fresh logan marketing society trends Melbourne goals property internship learning poor tertiary education challenge holidays business index house presentations 24,000,000 new york times keynote speaker Australian communities kate middleton food university Hornsby Shire Council students school speakers resilience christianity Royals media commentary facts dreaming sunburnt country personalities waverton royal family investment Aussie omnibus Financial Planning Association infographic wall optimistic future of education financial future teachers nfp blaxland 24 million video darwin plans buildings environment cloudy days crows nest energy emerging trends unaffordable global affordability environmental scanning customer increasing densification wellbeing wealth distribution young australians newspaper office space interactive cancel plans social researcher education sector vegetarian employment slideshare aged care puzzle relevant REIV National Conference curiosity researcher housing trends local group session narcissism organisational culture careers household Gen X generation marriage stay home not for profit daily commute geomapping ethnography Geoff Brailey Tuesday Trends deloitte 2017 consumer ACF schools students area engagement eliane property price identity schools faux-ciliser school students greatness DIY budget norwest report rental stress learner ideas Tasmania baby name trends retirement world mythbusting Christchurch presentation sentiments investor renter of the future authenticity Wagga Wagga growing population royal baby friends mobile cooking living australians staying home more 1968 coffee salary tv young people Northern beaches Event university degree social researchers Crime Rates DESTEL national private wealth Bathburst conference speaker apartment Australia Day 2017 wage South Australia hobart capital city Education Future Forum mccrindle tea VIC generation alpha year 7 offenders home ownership rise of local pharmacy sun housing affordability typical australian 1975 summer group conferences ashley fell trends of 2017 Res Vis staff debt middle class JOMO February 16 cash marriages thrive growth population online shopping panel global generations affordable unemployment public holiday the australian dream research snapshot Australian Census annual income baby boom social enquiry high density living domestic digital meetings Kirsten Brewer pharmacies follow data visualisation litter balance forum publication CBD alpha high density apartments ABS workforce townhouses anzac suburb Social Trend career socialising mccrindle research dare to dream focus groups finance conference Merry Christmas weekly earnings Sydney keynote speaker society youth unemployment hopes urban cost of living government Christmas season GPO social research poker master google for education royal influence NT shbc Generation X moderators guide twentyseventeen clothing rich winter blues Real Estate Institute of Victoria research pack click financial independence commute lifestyle sydney speaker generation Z Duchess of Cambridge Queensland house price rise entrepreneurs of today volunteers sydney event manly population map baby name predictions relational seasons ultimo collaborative entrepreneur not-for-profit urban taskforce medicine christmas wealth and income ACF 2016 collaboration community google in depth interviews trends FOMO builders social commentary ageing equip local communities Gen Y social life Canberra brand experience Real Estate national wealth housing growth prince george house price families small business generations spend happiness mortgage communicate future proof tattoos Wellington forecast Valentine’s Day infographic dream friendship cancelling event forecasting communication McCrindle Speakers goal baby names entrepreneurial Aussies brisbane monarchy Wodonga New Zealand participants long weekend graphs wealth and income distribution mover and shaker renting bondi vegemite trend tuesday cultural diversity bureau ease of travel Australian Communities Trends work mates consumerism stats child care Northern Beaches ageing population REIV Conference millionth etiquette Australian Bureau of Statistics Northern Beaches Christian School Assistant Store Manager house prices 23 million winter urban living index healthy future community engagement Love outsourcing housing australia year 12 australian communities trends report The ABC of XYZ storytelling demographic trends social change ashley mckenzie sector wide trend culture Do It Yourself daily telegraph millenials case study social lives educhat market research

Archive