The Flip Side of GeniY: Enhanced Role of the Teacher

This generation of iYer’s brings many “firsts” with them as a group into the 21st century. And as facilitators of their learning, our effectiveness in serving them multiplies as we seek to unravel the meaning of these “firsts.”

Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net | photoraidz
Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net | photoraidz

In a recent blog, Tim Elmore emphasizes that this generation of youth is the first who does not need adults to get information – they are always connected. This quote from Elmore’s post is brief yet full of meaning; it is truthful but motivates and excites me:

Consider how this difference changes the role of an adult. Because information is everywhere, we are no longer brokers of data. They don’t need us for information, but for interpretation. We must help them make sense of all they know. Our job isn’t to enable them to access data, but to process data and form good decisions.

You can either read this and be frustrated or read it as I do and get excited. Why? Because this is not a problem at all but an opportunity to get education back to its roots: giving students skill sets to live life successfully…beyond the walls of your classroom. 

Help your students make sense of this life and give them skills to interpret it.This begins to get back to the essence of what it really means to educate.

Community Input: What ideas do you have for helping your students interpret life around them as they are in your classroom? 

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5 thoughts on “The Flip Side of GeniY: Enhanced Role of the Teacher

  1. I don’t know, perhaps honest assessment of your students current status in the respective field (both collective and individual), establishing practical learning targets, and creating tangible goals to guide them from where they are to where they can be? All of this bathed in the powerful student-pupil relationship, so as to foster inspiration, and desire for growth? Hmm? Where have I heard this before? 🙂

  2. Some good ideas, Jonathan. I read something from Seth Godin titled Stop Stealing Our Dreams (free on his website) where he talks about the fact that we do not live in an age of production but of connection and that is so true. There is such a sea of information out there that this generation is not skilled at interpreting. You nailed it with your ideas of practical/tangible goals for guidance with heavy emphasis on the relational factor. Thanks for your comments!

  3. I’m sure the ability to find any piece of information eventually leads to a sense of lethargy in the classroom. How do you keep your students interested if they know they have all the information available at the tips of their fingers? Especially with the growing sense that everyone can interpret information themselves and integrate it into their own reality? They may not see that they need someone to process that data for them.

    • Thanks for your reply, Jehu. I appreciate your reading and commenting on my post. You bring up a good question. Even though a student has a sea of information, my role as a teacher is to help them synthesize ideas that might have been unrelated islands of thought in the student’s minds.

      One challenge with this iY generation is well-stated by Tim Elmore. Elmore, who wrote Artificial Maturity, says that kids today are overexposed to information far earlier than they are ready and kids today are underexposed to real-life experiences far later than they are ready.

      This is such a true statement and it is bringing the incongruence of these two statements together that truly raises the level of value of a teacher. Every student processing information into their own reality on their own can be dangerous for the student, especially as many have no idea of how to make sound decisions.

      We are working with a great generation with these students but we as teachers need to know how they are wired to truly help them move to success.

      Thank you again for commenting on my post and hope to have you again!

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