Adapting to a new generation of 21st Century students

Tuesday, January 11, 2011 at 9:23 pm

I’ve just sat in a 60 minute session while a colleague was effectively telling the rest of us that we have to adapt and find new ways of reaching our C21 young people – because we are competing with so many other more interesting experiences.

What I really object to is our pandering to these spoilt young products of our really decadent society and the suggestion that the reason they are unable to learn is because we don’t teach them the correct things or in the correct manner.

Is there no recognition that perhaps the reason why these young people are swiftly being overtaken by young people from other parts of the world is that these other young people are desperate to be educated and to get good jobs, while many of our young people just could not care less?  They don’t seem to be able to see further than their next mobile top-up or their next music download.

Is this symptom of alienation and disaffection – or are they just spoilt – and did we spoil them?

It was interesting to hear another very young and new colleague commenting afterwards, that it was all very well for our super colleague to be giving us all these wonderful starter techniques and trying to inspire us to be original and take risks – but she certainly wouldn’t be trying it with any of our current crop of Yr 8s.

The more I listen to this puerile optimism, the more I think I should never have stayed in teaching – but I really like it when I teach someone something – or if I learn something.  It’s just that I don’t do it – don’t get a chance to do it – very often nowadays in school.

Categories: UKEducation

the Information Generation

Saturday, January 1, 2011 at 5:31 pm

It's not on - what do I do now?

You may well be suicidal - and it isn't even on!

I’m in the middle of marking work and I keep coming across students who say that they are writing about something when they clearly mean to say “and here is a quotation from … [name of website]”.

Last year I heard a teacher say in a radio interview that students can find information better than any previous generations, “… they can get as much knowledge (sic) as they want.”

Woman’s Hour – 16 April 2010 – re. “The information Generation”

I don’t think they can – I don’t think many students can distinguish between so-called “information” and “knowledge”.   It has become something of a cliché to refer to the “cut and paste” generation, but that is often literally the case – the information is transferred from screen to screen but it never goes through the brain and is not processed to any noticeable extent by the student.

We might argue that it is then latent in the student memory.   My experience is, however, that because information is available on-line, then the majority of students do not commit facts or information to memory – and worse – they do not even consider the meaning or the importance of the information and it does not, therefore, get processed into real knowledge. Even the knowledge of where the information can be sourced is not registered, because it can so easily be “googled” again – or so they think.

So is it worth considering whose fault this is – and how we can try to redress the balance?

Categories: UKEducation

Setting up this site

Monday, December 27, 2010 at 11:50 pm

I have to say this must be one of the most non-intuitive programs I’ve come across – or the biological process is starting to get to me. Is it possible to remove categories from the sidebars? Haven’t found it yet.

Categories: SiteBuilding

Cheers! Whatever happened to “Thank you”?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 at 8:16 pm

Am I the only one who gets fed up with hearing young people and others saying “Cheers” when even “thanks” would be a more acceptable substitute?

I took my daughter a cup of tea in bed this morning and she couldn’t even open her eyes – but she managed to groan “cheers”. I suppose I’m just grateful that she said something and didn’t just take it for granted.

In my day job as a teacher I also find that more and more young people use “cheers” as their normal mode of saying thank you. I find it excessively casual and off-hand. It grates on me and I wonder just what their parents say at home.

Good of you to have the patience to read this, though.   Chee Thank you. J.

Categories: Language, theEnglishLanguage, UKEducation


Tuesday, December 21, 2010 at 8:40 pm

Welcome to this site – comments about education, about our current woes and also about current attitudes in the UK and Europe in the 21st Century.

The post-crisis gloom seems not to be shared by the majority of the population, many of who seem to be able to see themselves as above and outside the problems discussed in the news media.  Perhaps we are as a nation – or as the peoples of the western world – too numbed by our material world to feel anything but withdrawal symptoms when we are unable to gain further access to our toys.

Categories: Uncategorised