Monday, April 23, 2007

Gen Y and School 2.0

Is Harry Wong promoting School 2.0? I just finished reading an article by Harry Wong, Teachers: the Next Generation and I was inspired by what Wong had to say. According to Wong, Generation Y born from 1977- 1986 (U.S. Census Bureau, 2001) brings a new and exciting venue to the teaching field. The baby boomers are retiring by the droves and our schools are being flooded with the young Gen Y faces. These teachers are products of our global economy, where knowledge travels at the speed of light and there is no doubt that Gen Y is a digital generation that loves technology.

In a paragraph entitled, “From Outer Space to MySpace”, Wong explains how Generation Y stacks up in comparison to the previous generations. Gen Y teachers are usually group oriented, output driven, and achievement oriented. But according to Wong these Gen Y teachers also need structure. They want clear rules and procedures to follow, but they also need to be valued as teachers. Alsop, (2006) points out that Gen Y teachers want to be relevant, have an impact, and enjoy a diversity of experiences. These teachers are a far cry from the baby boomers of yesteryear. As such, school administrators and current teachers [most being baby boomers] need to recognize the needs of this new generation of teachers and do their best to facilitate them accordingly for the sake of their schools.

If school administrators want Gen Y teachers to truly be successful in the classroom, they have to redefine the teaching process as a whole. According to Wong, “The newest generation of teachers is perhaps the most intelligent, talented, competitive—and compulsive—group this country has seen. It's a renaissance generation with great potential.” As such, I can’t help but think of the words of Dewey, “If we teach today’s students as we taught yesterdays, we rob them of tomorrow”. By the same token, if we continue to expect today’s teachers to teach like yesterdays, we rob them of tomorrow and their students as well. Isn’t it time to dig deeper into School 2.0, Classroom 2.0 and Web 2.0 technologies for the sake of our Gen Y teachers and their students? Like it or not, this is the 21st Century and we are living in a global society with information at our very fingertips. Why not use the available technologies today!


William Bishop (Bill)

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