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

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

Archive