Teaching Millennials: the 5R’s way

Post date: Apr 4, 2018 3:40:20 AM

by: Irene P. Mendoza- Teacher III

City of Balanga National School

Have you heard about the Millennial Generation? Or perhaps you are more familiar with the many other labels attached to this generation of children born between 1981-1999 sometimes referred to as Digital Natives, Generation ME, the Baby Boom Echo Generation or Nexters. Price, C. (2009). They are the youngsters who are making up the bulk of our classrooms and they are different from the preceding generations; they behave differently; they have different preferences as well as attitudes than previous generations.

Generation Y, otherwise known as the millennial generation, refers to individuals born between 1982 and 2005.They were raised by parents who told them they were special and winners for no other reason than they are who they are. They want learning to be creative interactive, and fun; and they enjoy thinking outside the box. They are rather unique, the first to grow up in the digital age. Technology is intimately embedded in their lives. In fact, it is almost an extension of their bodies.

The arrival of millennials to the classroom challenges teaching practices that rely on one-size fits all curricula. Millennial students are providing the testing ground for how well pedagogical practices and curriculum will adapt to the opportunities and competition presented by a digital world. According to the “qualitative analysis of narratives provided by more than a hundred Millennial Learners“(Bart, 2011) (Christy Price, 2011) identifies five strategies that engage today’s students.

How do Millennials Learn? The 5 R’s Way.

1. Research- Based Methods

Millennials prefer a broad spectrum of learning strategies. The concept of learner-style is more pronounced in this generation. They prefer learning materials that are delivered to cater to their visual, auditory and even kinesthetic needs.

They need to experience change in delivery formats to maintain interest. Their attention spans are shorter – they quickly move on to other forms of learning. Their ideal learning environment involves less lecture and more collaboration with peers. Group-based projects that emulate the work environment (authentic assessments) are ideal for these learners.

2. Relevance

Millennials are aces at “googling” and discovering information. They do not value a piece of information for its own sake, rather for its relevance to their lives. Trainers will find millennials engaged in hands-on or application-based case studies, where new knowledge is discovered and synthesized actively between group members.

3. Rationale

Baby boomers or generation X-ers respond well to an authoritarian teaching style. They follow orders for the sake of complying with commands. On the other hand, millennials were raised in a less authoritative environment – where decisions and actions were constantly justified. Flexibility and recognizing the socio-emotional rationale behind new ideas and processes are expectations of millennials. When trainers and instructors provide the rationale behind policies and regulations in a learning environment, these young learners are more likely to respond positively.

4. Relaxed

Millennials prefer a relaxed learning environment, with minimum pressure, more freedom to complete assignments and also more freedom for personal expression and creativity.

5. Rapport

Millennials strive on personal relationships. When being raised, they had complete attention from their parents. They are used to older adults showing more interest in their lives. They prefer and appreciate instructors showing a personal interest in their training and development plans and achievement goals.

These learners also perform better at work and in the classroom when instructors connect with them on a personal level.

Knowing that everyone wants to learn, and learning is its own reward, millennials see through the conventions of public education and now demand an education based on relevance, choice, and respect. To remain relevant and effective, educators would be wise not to assume students will do their bidding based solely on contractual relationship as schools, teachers, and students. And, as the millenials give way to a new generation, one has born into the world where the abstracting, linear, and sequencing forces of time increasingly lose their influence. Educators need to step up and reach out to students by engaging and nurturing their individual drives and aspirations.