Our Student Body is Changing

Perhaps PD should be more focused on the culture and characteristics of the students we teach: who each student is, and the groups they form

Photo of Chris Mitts
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Photo of Chris Mitts

There is quite a bit of information about youth culture and the changes that are constantly taking place.  Some early research can be associated with changes to youth culture because of the rise in "latchkey kids" when students would arrive at an empty household because of working parents and how the change affected academic performance.  Fast forward to the present, and there are numerous studies about:
- students' addiction to social media;
- anxiety when separated from their phones (https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/rewired-the-psychology-technology/201501/iphone-separation-anxiety);
- the public record of students mistakes because of videos and social media (http://www.cnet.com/news/googles-schmidt-teens-mistakes-will-never-go-away/); and
- the changing nature and influence of adolescent relationships, such as dating or the "hookup" mentality (e.g. Over the past three years, I have increasingly encountered students that are now living with their bf/gf, instead of family.)

Realistically, as teachers age, we seem likely to be consistent in our rules for, and expectations of our students.  This is not bad, but it is naive about the other side of the equation: that each successive generation of students we encounter will likely be a little different from the previous.

Photo of Elsa Fridman Randolph

Hi Chris,

Great idea! I'd love to brainstorm with you some ways in which we might make this even more concrete and actionable in a variety of educational contexts. Would you want to collaborate with me and build out your idea further?

Photo of Chris Mitts

Thanks for the compliment and I am interested in working out details on this topic.  My main concern is how much time I actually have that I can commit to our collaboration.  Based on your past experience, what is your normal weekly time commitment when collaborating on topics such as this?

Photo of Leslie Ihrig

I agree, Chris. After all, the kids are why we are here. :-)

Photo of Heather Tyler

This is so important and a frequent conversation I have with people in and out of education.  The world has changed so rapidly with technology (for better or for worse) that culture, families, and children are vastly different from even just a few years ago.  Have people been studying this? How exactly are children different (not just from observations) and how does that impact what/how/when we should teach?

Photo of Cristy Pollak

Culture has changed a lot even in the last decade-children and parents have different expectations of school than they did ten years ago- it would be interesting to understand that better and modify our teaching to meet the needs of our communities. PD on the 'now' generation would be valuable.