3 Ways Generation Z Is Changing Education

Growing up during a time of rapid social, cultural, economic, and technical advances, Generation Z is entering today’s workforce fueled by new ideas and beliefs. Specifically, Gen Z educators are bringing substantial change to classrooms and challenging traditional learning methods. Below are three major ways Gen Z educators are changing this landscape.

They are challenging the standardized test.

“No Child Left Behind in 2001 created a lot of anxiety among us because there was always testing, testing, testing.”
—Miyuki Manzanedo, Former President of Student CTA

Gen Z educators know standardized tests all too well. They experienced them throughout their student career. At the same time, they experienced an explosion of information on the internet, like the ability to learn or showcase anything on YouTube. This dichotomy helped them realize there are better, less stressful ways to demonstrate learning and understanding.

Reflecting on their own experiences, they’ve implemented the following changes in their classrooms:

  • They use alternative tools like digital portfolios to measure competency and look for soft skills
  • They focus on student well being and engage kids in creative ways, reducing stress and anxiety
  • They view students as equals.

    “We use an egalitarian style of teaching, treating them as if they are equals instead of making powerful demands.”
    —Aasha Trosper, Oakland Education Association Member

    Gen Z teachers have a special relation to their students—who are also Gen Z. They use empathy to understand what students need and the difficulties they face in the digital era.

    Instead of assigning tasks that feel like orders from a superior, Generation Z teachers:

  • Model how to be good digital citizens
  • Give students open platforms that promote self-expression to voice how they feel with video or audio
  • They engage with new technologies.

    “We believe in project-based learning, gamification of curriculum, and getting kids to interact with technology in a purposeful way,” —Aasha Trosper. Oakland Education Association Member

    Generation Z teachers are integrating technology in new ways:

  • They prefer collaborating online through instant communication channels with colleagues, parents and students.
  • They want more say in the tools they use for professional development, choosing cost efficient tools like mobile apps.
  • They are using digital portfolios to create individualized learning plans for students; making it easier to track a student’s progress.
  • While Generation Z is commonly known as experts of technology, they do not let technology define them. They simply want to make a difference and are taking advantage of the tools in the digital age to do it. This is only the beginning for Gen Z educators. There will be more to discover as these young professionals continue their careers in education.

    “Ideas have changed, and are still changing rapidly. It’s scary to think that in a year, I am going to be teaching young minds. So we just need all the support and feedback we can get.” —Brandon Giovannoni, Vice President of Student CTA at CSU Stanislaus

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    20 January 2020