Post Classifieds

Talkin' about my generation

By Robert Lisiecki
On January 24, 2012

W e need to start thinking about ways to improve our collegiate educational system. Now that I've shocked or exasperated you, allow me to explain. Obviously, my examples do not apply to everyone. Sweeping generalizations don't corroborate any argument effectively.

Numerous students still do well, are engaged and learn

sufficiently in class. Numerous other students, however,

aren't as fortunate. So, who is to blame? That is up for

debate and is something I don't wish to get into.

Instead, I'll explain what I mean by my initial statement.

My generation has been blessed (and cursed) by technology. My parents' generation wasn't graced by such a powerful technological presence. When our parents needed

an answer, they went to some mystical place called the library. We go to a magical place called Google.

Our parents once had to make a phone call, write a letter or

knock on a door if they wanted to talk to someone. We use

e-mail, texting and instant messengers. (Yes, people still

make phone calls but that's not the point). We've become

spoiled. It's not something to necessarily be ashamed

of; it's just the truth. With things like Facebook and Twitter, along with text messaging, information is now at our fingertips. Information is instantaneous. We don't have to wait for the next day's paper to tell us the news. We can now know what's happening virtually as it's happening.

This technology has given us so much, but it's taken a lot away, too. We no longer need a great memory, interpersonal communication skills or a large vocabulary.

These items are all provided for us via technology.

Let's face it: our generation is different from our parents'

generation. We must, then, adapt to our differences.

One of the biggest differences is the loss of our attention

span. Not to say that some of our parents didn't have

small ones to begin with, but with the technology we have, small attention spans are more commonplace.Think about it. How many students do you see nodding off

in class, playing with their phones or doodling in their notebooks? Furthermore, how many reading assignments have you neglected to do because they were too long and you didn't want to take the time? So, as I said, it's time for us to start looking into ways of improving the classroom. What worked on our parents, or our teachers, doesn't work to the same effect with us. Things like lectures and long reading assignments don't necessarily do the trick anymore. Some students still thrive in their academics regardless of the teacher, but we need to focus on the students that are continually struggling. The necessary improvements require teachers, future teachers and students (through teacher reviews) to work together to find

teaching styles better suited for today's generation —

something more attention grabbing, more engaging.

When popular entities like Twitter call for us to chop our thoughts to a concise 140 characters and texting pushes us to shorten phrases like "see you later" to "c u l8er," we are bound to adapt to that lifestyle. Monotone lectures and

long reading assignments, for instance, are no longer as effective as they once might have been. They have always caused some students to drift off but now more and more stop paying attention. To counter this, we must re-engage ourselves in the classroom. This change will require vigor, intuitiveness and an ability to set aside pride for the future

of our education. I believe if we can conglomerate, a

resolution is possible. I'm not sitting here saying teachers

can't teach and students can't learn. Many teachers teach tell and many students learn. It's just that we live in a volatile

society and must do our best to change with the times.

Most of us will earn a degree. Don't you, as teachers, want

students to take something more out of your class than a

grade? Don't you, as the student, want to actively learn instead of paying large sums of money to memorize material, forget material and get a piece of paper? I

hope so.

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