While they’re still in school, Generation Z is already set to have a big impact on the future. They’re the first generation to come of age with smartphones and social media, so we know that their experiences will be different from those of generations past.
But what does that mean for them as students? How does their education experience differ from that of earlier generations?
We’ve rounded up some facts about Gen Z to help you get a better sense of what kind of students they are, and how their experiences in school might affect them as adults.
We Don’t Like To Be Told What To Do
Generation Z is unique among generations, in that we have a very strong desire to be able to make our own decisions. We want to choose our path to success in life, and we also want to pick the friends and hobbies that we enjoy most.
This is not an attitude that was shared by previous generations, who often felt pressure from their parents or other authority figures telling them what they should do with their lives.
But Generation Z has different values: when it comes down to it, we don’t like being told what’s right or wrong we just want the freedom of choice!
We Take Care Of Ourselves
Millennials and Gen Z are both pretty concerned with their health and well-being, but Gen Zers take it to a whole new level.
For example, they’re more likely to be vegan or vegetarian than their predecessors and that’s not just because they think it’s cool. According to one study, almost half of teens say they eat meatless meals once per week or more often.
We’ll Learn Better If You Can Appeal To Our Emotions
If you want to connect with and engage us, appeal to our emotions. We’ll remember things more easily if they make us feel something. We’re also more likely to be engaged in the content if we can relate it to our own lives and experiences.
For example: Asking students what they like about their school may help them connect that with why they should care about what’s being taught in a particular class or lesson.
Or asking questions such as “What does it mean for a person to be happy?”
This could lead to lessons on psychology or sociology that teach students how other people might perceive happiness differently from themselves based on their culture and upbringing, which is bound up with emotion (and not just logic).
We’re Stressed Out
A lot of us are stressed out. We’re expected to do well in school, have a successful career and make money, get married, and have kids, all while being active members of society and caring for our aging parents. On top of this, we have social media to contend with.
Social media is supposed to be fun but it can also be an addictive time suck that makes us feel inadequate or jealous if we compare ourselves to others who seem happier or more successful than us.
We’re also expected to do well at sports (which many of us don’t enjoy), socialize with friends (which many of us don’t want), participate in extracurricular activities (which many of us don’t want), and volunteer at soup kitchens (which few people volunteer at).
We Want You To Know We Appreciate You
We want you to know that we appreciate the time and effort you put into our education. We know that it’s not easy. We also know that some of our peers have parents who don’t care about their schoolwork, or maybe even don’t go to parent-teacher conferences.
That’s not us we have supportive families and we want you to know how much we appreciate everything they do for us.
We’re hard workers, too; many of us have jobs outside of school, whether at fast-food restaurants or retail stores like Target or Walmart (or both!).
Our work ethic is something that sets us apart from previous generations we were raised with an understanding of how important it is to be responsible adults who take care of ourselves financially.
As well as emotionally by finding ways to entertain ourselves outside the classroom environment.
And while there are some things about which Generation Z students are stubbornly resistant (like homework), overall, we want nothing more than for all teachers across America to succeed in helping us become the best people possible.
And then potentially paying them more money so they can afford fancier homes!
Don’t Try To Lecture Us; Tell Us Stories Instead
A generation of kids with short attention spans and an insatiable appetite for information, our generation is hungry for stories.
Stories are what we remember best; they’re easier to understand, more likely to be remembered and shared, and they help us connect in a way that statistics never can.
Please Give Us Choices (Within Limits)
We need choices. But not too many.
That’s why you need to give us a choice, but also to make sure that it’s not too hard for us to choose one thing over another. We want to be able to choose something, but not so much that our brain explodes with the number of options in front of us.
So what do we mean by “not too many” and “not too hard”? Well, let’s say I’m an average student who goes through school without any major issues at all (I know how rare this is).
You could say that in my experience at school there were never any choices given or taken away from me which means I never had any decision-making power over my education!
That would be bad because every person needs agency over their own life experience; otherwise what kind of education would that be?
Will We Freak Out If You Don’t Have Screens? No, Not Really
You may be wondering what it’s like to go to school with people who were born in the 2000s. Will we freak out if you don’t have screens? No, not really. We love technology, but we also like to get out and do things.
We want technology in our classrooms as much as anyone else but not too much of it. Students these days are digital natives: they’ve grown up surrounded by screens that provide information instantly and in large quantities, so they expect their schools’ classrooms to work the same way!
They’ll want the latest gadgets (like tablets), computers for research projects or homework assignments, and maybe even a cell phone at some point during the day (that way your parents can text you if they’re worried about where you are).
But on top of all this cool tech stuff, there’s another thing Generation Zers value: having time away from screens outside of class too!
Here’s some insight into the most misunderstood generation.
So much has been written about Generation Z in the media, but how much of it is true? Here’s some insight into the most misunderstood generation.
We Don’t Like To Be Told What To Do
When you’re teaching a class of Generation Z students, you need to be very clear about what’s expected of them and when. They’re not going to want or appreciate being pushed around or told what they can and cannot do (unless they’re learning something new).
It also doesn’t help that this generation has grown up with technology that gives them options at all times they’re used to being able to change their minds at any moment if they think something else would be more fun or interesting.
We take care of ourselves well enough on our own without needing someone telling us how we should go about doing so!
That said, it might be helpful if teachers explained what “taking care” means for each student individually before sending them out into the real world… because everyone does things differently!
It’s worth noting that these results don’t mean Generation Z kids are completely unable to learn.
They’re still doing fairly well in school, despite being glued to their phones and tablets. However, this does mean that teachers and parents will likely have to make some adjustments when it comes time for Generation Z kids to learn new information.
Costantine Edward is a digital marketing expert, freelance writer, and entrepreneur who helps people attain financial freedom. I’ve been working in marketing since I was 18 years old and have managed to build a successful career doing what I love.