I'm a boomer who teaches a college class that combines business law and ethics. I want my students to enjoy and master the subject matter but my notion of how to study material and prepare for class don't jibe with theirs.
Most of the students don't do the readings so I have powerpoints to walk them through them. Ideally, my class would supplement the readings, as my college classes did, but left to their own devices, the students can't figure out what's important and what's not.
They also do not take notes in class. Their expectation is that I will give them the powerpoint. I honestly don't know how someone learns without the most minimal of notetaking. Is this an unfair expectation? I'm aware that some people learn aurally and visually but these folks don't seem to be paying attention no matter how the material is presented.
They also don't seem to be able to remember concepts that were covered in previous classes. My impression is that memorization of any kind was considered "rote" or mechanical work that was discouraged. The feeling is that if they need to know something, they can look it up rather than clutter their brains with it. That deprives them of a basic framework to tie concepts together, in my opinion.
When it comes to tests, there's a feeling that it should be open book with do-overs, that I should give them the test questions in advance and tell them exactly what they need to study and that the questions should exactly reproduce those that were covered in class.
When they do poorly, they're very efficient in making excuses for themselves and pointing out additional ways that I can pre-digest the content for them.
There's also a tendency for them to read objective questions as if I'm seeking their opinions or feelings rather than referencing the law or problem-solving models we're covering in class.
I would say that I have three out of 20 students who do the readings, come in prepared to discuss them, retain concepts and are able to handle problems on exams that are not exact duplicates of what they've had previously.
I'm sure I have shortcomings as a professor but I really do want them to do well. I've also read extensively about how millenials learn. I really do think most of these folks would be better served by an online course that fits into their time schedule and attention span except that I don't think that really prepares them for the interactions of a workplace.
I've reread this and noticed grammatical errors. I'm not an idiot--just very tired after a long day.
They're broken. Public schools didn't teach them to learn. Maybe let thm use the internet on their next test. They might at least learn how to look the information up.
"prepares them for the interactions of a workplace"?
Is that what you think your mission is?
What kind of school is this? Are the students supposed to be bright? What kind of SAT scores do they average?
I am with R3. This dose not sound like a regular school. More like one of those "for-profit" schools.
One of the many reasons they suck is the students. They take anyone that qualifies for a loan. So, they end of with all the rejects,the ones that could not get into a real college or university.
Hey OP, your class is full of losers. Nothing you do will change that. It's not the generation, it's your school.
It's a business-oriented school and curriculum, and the kids measure the worth of their education by how employable they are when they get out. It's not a for-profit school but it's fairly easy to get into and the average ACT is probably about 22.
I would love to be able to excite them intellectually and I may have that effect on a handful of people but I just want to see most of them grasp the fundamentals of the course. For example, I teach various problem solving models in business ethics that enable them to see problems from a variety of perspectives. It would make me very happy if they understood and were able to employ these tools rather than simply sharing their gut feelings about a situation.
It strikes me that the problem I'm encountering may not be so much generational as a function of a bare-bones "teach to the test" education.
Well they are broke as R2 states, but he is wrong about the cause. It's the parents who have failed them. They have raised a generation with do overs, everyone is a winner, arrange my schedule around you, generation. This is why some of the students in your class are doing just fine. Good parenting.
Unfortunately, you are just going to have to suck it up. They old way of teaching is dead. They expect (and so do their parents) more engaging types of information delivery.
Everyone get out your iPad.....lets Google Tumbler for some Instagram pics to post to my Facebook page.
"johnny! Get off Myspace, what were you home schooled!"
[quote]Their expectation is that I will give them the powerpoint.
We get the powerpoint plus make notes. On the powerpoints are only the most important points, not every information. But you probably know that.
Apart from that I agree with your point, they seem either lazy with short attention span or calculating as R5 said.
If you want to see students memorize, go to a medical school.
But really, OP, the problem is that you're teaching ethics at a for-profit college, and modern business students don't give a rat's ass about ethics. They just want to make money.
OP, it's not just your class. Everyone knows now that can just live off the initiative of your 3 in 20 people who act responsibly.
I used to teach some minor college courses. In a way, they are smarter at achieving a goal, but in other ways they completely miss the big picture.
In my experience, they look at the end goal and only the end goal. So for example, they want to know whats on the test that will get that the desired grade. This is much different from grasping a concept and living with a lower grade. They don't question or debate, they just want the easiest path to their goal.
Life has taught them that we reward end result instead of a journey. Sports star, movie stars, reality stars set the example. You can be a gang banger, a rich housewife or white trash former govern of Alaska. They all ended up rich showing off their "Cribs".
We really don't reward the scientist, physicist, philosopher, craftsman or architects like with do with sports. No one talks about those things unless its their field of study.
It's not like that in Europe. Kids there seem smarter simply because they can hold a conversation on topics that don't involve entertainment. Kids there know how the US government works the three branches etc. Most college age students here could not name a foreign government and tell you how it works to save their life.
How many LIVING people can you name from that list without Google? Now how many fashion designers, sports figures and movie stars can you name?
Welcome to the USA
R8 is right, for-profit or not, the point is the same. People go to business school to make money. Ethics? Really? Really?
That is like trying to teach bottom whores to wash between tricks.
Manipulative little bastards. Try this, it worked for me.
Next time you want them to take notes and they complain they would rather have a copy of the hand out, tell them WHY its for their own good.
Tell them, that it has been proven you will retain more memory if they hear it, see it and then repeat it. The note taking is a physical action that links with your brain.
If you were to just give them the handout, their chances of retaining the right information for the test would only be 1 in 3.
This is actually true by the way. There is something about physically making a note that your brain will recall as important later. Your brain is analyzing what is important enough to write down, therefore forming new connections. Handing out a copy to read later will not do this. Neither will a recording.
Do-overs are so much work for everyone. Just give them all an "A" and call it a day.
Ya, I had a teacher once that said at the end of the class write the grade you think you deserve on a paper and hand it in.
Amazingly, I got an A. Oh, and it was a business class by the way. What's up with that?
I teach at an inner city school, and see the same thing, OP. I agree with others that a part of the problem is the school where you teach.
Students won't read. You can forget that, it's not going to happen.
So, you have to find other ways to play the game and still encourage them to learn.
Try limiting each power point slide to ONE statement only and lecture around that. Smartboard technology is way better than power point. Encourage and give points for students using the Cornell note taking style. Lots and lots of visuals and videos and, tests over them. Have them do lots of group work in class with the occasional stipulation that the work is not to be divided up among group members, but each step in the work is to be approached by the group. I use a lot of applied ethics questions in my class--and have them work in groups and then break out into a seminar. Put together webquests, where they have to look for information online.
Lecture, unless you are a terrific story teller, is dead.
The responses and teaching tips especially are very helpful. I don't lecture and I do incorporate a lot of visuals, videos and small group exercises but I could obviously do better.
I keep thinking, what are these people going to do if there's a power outage and their cellphone batteries die? If these people are losing or not bothering to cultivate the ability to recall or organize information because they feel they can look it up, what competencies are they developing instead? I mean this sincerely. I'm happy to have a job and I don't want to denigrate my students.
They are the eloi
Thoughts? We are so fucked. These are the people who will be in charge and running things when I am in my golden years. Completely fucked.
Some of you speak of these issues as if they're inherently the kids' faults, and/or encouraged only by epidemically bad parenting that started with the parents' generation. Those things don't come out of nowhere. It's a cultural evolution, and it's futile to skew the conversation toward blame of anyone.
R12 is correct. I studied for my HR certification (ducking the rocks being thrown) on my own. I read the books, highlighted important passages, made notes on pads and then whittled that down to note cards. I passed the exam on the first try and know it had to do with the repetition of reviewing the material.
I am a currently corporate trainer so I'm instructing adults with all kinds of bad habits. I STILL have to discipline them about side conversations!!
To keep my participants engaged, I introduce the topic and concepts and we discuss them to make sure they are understood. I then break them into groups to apply the concepts to their everyday work situations. Each group then teaches back what they discussed, the whole class gives feedback on the presentation and we address any open issues/concerns. Finally, I wrap up the concepts and perhaps give them "homework" eg something that will reinforce what was learned.
This keeps participants actively engaged and away from their i/smart-anythings. It also helps them relate the information to their lives. As I teen, I hated algebra because I couldn't understand how it related to my life at the time. As a adult I can see the practicality of it.
Good luck, OP.
R19 makes a great point. Although education was once valued as an achievement in and of itself, today it is perceived by an increasing number of people as merely one of the tools required for achieving financial success. In some cases, e.g., sports and entertainment figures, it is not even a requirement. I doubt seriously that the general population of this country will ever return to the former way of thinking about education. I applaud your efforts, OP, and I would encourage you to continue them. Who knows? Perhaps in addition to the 3 you mentioned, there may be one or two more getting more than you suspect.
Technology has gone a long way in training the kids to believe that they don't have to work. Just hit a computer button and all of the answers are there. Don't want to read? See Sparknotes. Don't want to take notes? Your school is probably mandating that assignments and notes be put online.
OP? That's a great description of my students -- and I have taught at colleges that range from community colleges to small, expensive private colleges to large public schools.
The students are all the same.
I've said on this board more than once that I don't want to be around when these idiots are running the country. Surely we have some horrible disasters in store for the future.