ERIC Number: EJ804638
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2008
Reference Count: 0
Shorthand or Shortsightedness?: The Downside of Generational Labeling
Bonfiglio, Robert A.
About Campus, v13 n3 p30-32 Jul-Aug 2008
At what point does a paradigm become so prevalent that it loses its utility? Probably when attempts to simplify complex concepts become oversimplification. A case in point may be the use of the term "millennials". The designations "millennials" and "millennial generation" are frequently used, allegedly to paint a nuanced portrait of today's college-going population. It seems that wherever one turns--newspapers, journals, or professional meetings--there are opportunities to read or hear about the best ways to teach or reach millennial students. When first introduced, the idea of the millennial generation of students struck a chord with many educators, probably due to its novelty and accessibility. It seems, however, that as the concept has gotten greater and greater exposure in educational circles, it has become less and less useful as a framework for developing strategies that lead to effective learning. Thinking of the college students of this era solely as millennials over-simplifies who the students are and how teachers should best work with them. This kind of thinking perpetuates stereotypes about who attends college and who does not. Although contextualizing the characteristics and experiences of students may be a helpful way to think about them as a group, the more broadly these generalizations are applied, the less accurate they tend to be. This is why the author thinks that the term millennials has only limited usefulness in the educational arena. Thus, the author offers four suggestions to help combat simplistic thinking about students and how to best enhance their learning: (1) meet students' needs by first getting to know them personally; (2) get to know all students by embracing student diversity; (3) keep the focus on education; and (4) practice critical thinking.
Descriptors: Student Diversity, Models, Learning Strategies, College Students, Stereotypes, Student Needs, Critical Thinking, Labeling (of Persons)
Jossey Bass. Available from John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 111 River Street, Hoboken, NJ 07030-5774. Tel: 800-825-7550; Tel: 201-748-6645; Fax: 201-748-6021; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; Web site: http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/browse/?type=JOURNAL
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Higher Education
Authoring Institution: N/A