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Sunday, September 5, 2010

Education: My Generation

"I’m not sure it’s always good to grow up surrounded by stability, immersed in affluence, and having had it drummed into you that you are entitled to be a member of the next leadership class. To have this background in the modern era is to come from a ghetto, the luckiest ghetto in the world, a golden ghetto beyond whose walls it can be hard to see." --Wall Street Journal

The New York Times asks why it is taking the 20somethings so long to grow up. I ask why parents are having such difficulty letting go. We call this phenomena "Helicopter Parenting".

We have a lot of teachers out there. We have few educators. This is a tough economy, and college students are looking it right in the face. What does that mean for college teachers? Relevant lesson plans taught by educators: those who teach us how to learn, not teach us a few facts.

Things to know about my generation in the classroom:

1. Yes, we've all been shaped by our parents. Even the intonation of our cries were shaped by the language they speak.

2. Increase in divorce rates and working moms means a lot of our parents were supported by media education.

3. No, the media does not increase our ability to multi-task. It increases our belief that we can multi-task.
3a. Just because we're surrounded by the media doesn't mean we like to, or know how to, use it. Putting a boring lesson online doesn't make it more fun.

4. Multi-tasking and hectic lives means more cel phones in class. You'd be surprised, though: most upperclassmen are looking up word definitions or current examples of your class topic.

5. We have a lot of people telling us who to be. We all have dreams, but with the financial situation I really can't afford to be a young adult novelist. Now I have to decide between who I want to be and who I can afford to be. Plus, Helicopter parenting and a media obsessed with our age group...that's a lot of self-conflict:

1. There are two spellings of the word "light/lite".

2. There is no such thing as an Asian person (I did not see a single Asian in any beer commercial during the week.)

3. Animals are cute and they like to drink beer also.
4. An entire Colorado mountain range can be squeezed into a 12 oz. bottle (look out when you open it!).

5. Beer companies want me to drink a ton of beer, but drink it responsibly.

6. There is no such thing as a flat-chested (or brunette) woman, and they always come in sets of two ("...and twins!"). Seems as though the beer companies love blondes, as I saw only a few brunettes in the commercials, and what is their deal with Twins (or at least pairs), whenever a girl approaches a guy with a beer, there are always two of them - Not that I am complaining or anything...

7. Everyone has a ton of $$ to spend on beer.

8. White dudes in polo shirts and khaki shorts love to hang out in beer commercials.

9. Despite what I learned in Biology class, frogs and lizards can actually talk.

10. If you drink a beer, you will have all the fast cars, hot chicks and popularity that you could ever want.

11. Most beer is consumed at fancy parties or on the beach.

That just about sums it up. The only thing they did not tell me was: HOW DO I EARN THE MONEY TO BUY THEIR BEER?


5. We crave relevance. Today's job market is very competitive, so it's not enough to pass the class. Teach us real-world knowledge: be an educator, not a teacher.

How real world relevant are your lesson plans?
Make education time, and money, well spent.

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