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

leader learner wedding Social Trend royal high density shifts local employmer optus ferry Research Executive brisbane keynote speaker shopping states ashley fell VET sector live the dream gender Australian Census growth donation report New Zealand Education Future Forum ACF relevant faux-cilise suburban living VIC bureau Kiwi australian real estate Queensland: QLD couple market research hills shire emerging generations Business analysis global generations deloitte eliane internship workplace winter blues Royals Tuesday Trend christmas work from home supply and demand tertiary education ultimo Love nativity scene ageing population Black Friday Sales organisations social research investing norwest the great screenage Australia Day McCrindle Speaker Queensland 24,000,000 visual work mates meals professional presenters list community engagement Black Friday young australians new york times the australian dream Australian communities national crime rates cost alpha challenge collaborative mentor twentyseventeen jobs of the future social researchers Christchurch property social issues dream mobile eliane miles baby name predictions Performance Sentiment Index forecast Valentine’s Day rich infographics micro home ownership video census survey design Mark McCrindle in the media millenials micro apartments 1980 budget Mark McCrindle Deaths ethnography shopping centre princess charlotte religion dessert Crime Rates friends wealth inequality investor suburb mortgage Vocational education stats 23 million cold speajer residents Do It Yourself data analyst who is generation z study huffington post TED volunteering 24 million youth unemployment staying in optimistic cash survey internships society trends leadership wage volunteer business performance dare to dream publication newspaper internet intern entrepreneur menai investment paying to work cultural diversity housing trends urban Australian Communities Trends weekly earnings mover and shaker stay home hobart Work place TAS brands sydney event village McCrindle Keynote Speakers Kirsten Brewer optus my business awards sector wide ACF2017 FOMO Gen Y speaker social commentary cultural diveristy long weekend area plans Northern Territory employers Australia Day 2017 Christmas research innovation national private wealth Sydney Lifestyle Study clothing volunteers aged care population online shopping australia group session Merry Christmas buildings balance HSC career food bank purpose work-life charity census data tableau state daily commute sports communications data qualitative research earn property market South Australia going out January 26th workplace culture Sydney Hills Business Chamber year 7 education future System's Architect medicine work JOMO media release Elderslie-Harrington park food insecurity pharmacy vegetarian Gen X baby name post rationalism suburbs high school travel Myth Channel 7 Generation Y apartment NEETs New Zeland demographic Geoff Brailey seasons future-proof mining boom Tuesday Trends mateship product keynote pyrmont staff Christmas lunch royal family townhouses celebration cartodb communities google curiosity sunburnt country know the times Australians life Sydney’s south west generational trends jobs trades 1975 urban development australian social research McCrindle Speakers logan mother's day visualisation earnings church changing face of sydney debt Netflix Jura Coffee child care DESTEL debate conference presentation 40 million christmas trees trends of 2017 communication bondi lifestyle data visualisation omnibus the hills TDE men new office school satisfaction Financial Planning Week mccrindle research royal influence generations 1994 households learning generation Engineering Manager renter of the future nfp gig Christmas presents collaboration chairty experience australian communities trends report financial shbc social lives 10 years future proofing hopes Australia street housing growth friendship urban living retirement PSI university degree Australian Home social shifts speakers Scouts futurist faux-cilising professional development rent ageing responsive families school learning styles 2014 baby population map sustainable Real Estate Institute of Victoria wolloomooloo education future report marrickville NBRS Architecture ACT presentations Real Estate renting 2017 donate award winner car offenders sunny days typical australian grandparents Western Australia research visualisation school students Canberra census results entrepreneurs of today parenting millionth panel rain divorce rate trend average Australian baby names rise of local christmas 2017 rule keeper Caregiver digital economy household Research Director Sydney Macquarie University royal baby average sydneysider research data world youth day schools census 2016 Wagga Wagga spirituality TEDx Speaker housing 2016 the changing face of tea gold coast mccrindle financial dreams community happy holidays capital city CPI future Northern beaches Event volunteering data annual income water ease of travel public holiday graphs narcissism storytelling overcast children perth food Australian Bureau of Statistics train Channel Seven low density Aussies shopper's pick generation alpha kate middleton media learn surnames TED talk sydney speaker bus house price rise news Tasmania demographer housing market students financial planning in the media workforce choice workers affordability 2013 parents travelling meetings global retail social enquiry divorce Bathburst business index business ABS spend Australian Trends home online high density living skills politics consumer national wealth selfie Duchess of Cambridge facts global teleworking sydneycity NFP event goals equip not for profit faith grave decision entertainment Jura Australia media commentary identity easy rider digital demography resource sector cica Willowdale manly teachers student local community SMART sydney market brand experience dreams safe the lucky country educhat focus groups not-for-profit care support energy urban living index REIV National Conference contiki office space workshop cancelling plans property development Hills Shire Council Hunter Valley goal follow urban taskforce criminal father's day public speaking house prices English moreton bay do people still change their surname after marriage? NSW environment IT Specialists insights Financial Planning Association Charlotte capital cities Andrew Duffin culture names Retail click australian communities forum the hills shire leadership workshop financial independence Wellington anzac socialites Wodonga census fail commuters CBD seasons greetings home owner baby name trends population growth monarchy future of education maiden office vegemite future of shopping hornsby Christmas day teach networking HR economy sydneysider screenage happiness social life mythbusting customer living FPA REIV Conference global financial crisis society statistics change authenticity award professional services millennials greatness mccrindle tea teaching event domestic sydney hills 1968 money insight financial future charities results professional trends of 2016 christianity Lower Hunter Region engagement women emerging technologies cancelling event income case study marketing increasing densification engage sun house 2020 high density apartments neutral bay gen z Northern Beaches Christian School personalities australian community trends report baby names australia report baby names report acf15 ACT Report Births GPO not for profit research employment 2016 census results NBRS organisational culture tv local communities sector wide study slideshare NT middle class thought leadership maiden names google for education poker master research report hunger gen alpha sydney property market university weather outsourcing easter future of work February 16 trends forum fresh coffee lovers Christmas season Christmas in Australia waverton Christmas Stats research pack conference demographics 2015 Territory Adelaide average aussie non profit growth of sydney focus group social analysis ipswich baby boom social commentator cancel plans emerging trends showreel research sentiments "know the times" Australian schools communicate transport The ABC of XYZ wealth distribution snapshot earning sydneysiders casual commute giving Word Up Skilling trends analyst screenagers world social impact Gen Z Expert daily telegraph teacher WA financial fears generation Z tips crows nest New South Wales EFF story wealth and income distribution presentation darwin Population Clock blaxland marriages Maxim Accounting young people public transport woolworths fears crime social analyst VET finance social researcher infographic ACF 2016 surname small business education research Australian Population Christmas day weather prince george education Res Vis Cobbitty-Leppington training professional speaker geomapping The Daily Edition Mount Annan-Currant Hill youth rental stress priorities environmental scanning dreaming James Ward wages events hills Australian community trends Australian Dream demographic transformations pharmacies Sydney keynote speaker thrive interactive population milestone the average aussie moderators guide affordable Christmas data motivate public speaker technology marriage owning a home government participants australian social change tuesday infographic wall brand repayments wellbeing toys US socialising winter real rising house prices innovative SRE media activity younger generations SA year 12 DIY social media housing affordability McCridle city research on coffee potts point demographic trends community event lalor park australians staying home more cloudy days Black Friday in Australia litter leadersip Australian Families social impact trend tuesday in depth interviews cooking quote group ideas personal growth Lower Hunter Australian demographics Sydney population World Water Day commuting What is food insecurity? summer poor belief growing population builders education sector aged care puzzle megatrends unemployment cars baby boomers victoria Generation X speakers pack Northern Beaches holidays coffee social trends relational employmee SMSF tattoos Financial Planning Association of Australia program 2016 census future proof salary breakfast researcher Assistant Store Manager #censusfail schools students etiquette research services mccrindle in the media wealth and income consumerism gig economy educated hello fresh ashley mckenzie forecasting resilience Aussie wealth unaffordable cost of living land of the middle class house price proactive healthy future office opening property price careers recap mythbusters aussie culture holiday economic faux-ciliser family entrepreneurial apartments Melbourne conferences language ACF17 conference speaker define christian Hornsby Shire Council sydney metro TEDx analysis mccrinlde 2012 culturally diverse

Archive