Just had a discussion with one of my sons where he went into great detail to describe the meme of “fail” that permeates the online world at this point. After listening to a number of examples and a description of what “fail” can represent, I responded with “Like when we used to say something ‘bombed’, right?”
“… Of course, right.” I just needed a context that I recognized to understand the new term.
Context is important when people from different generations attempt to communicate.
In a recent discussion about generational issues in the classroom, I noted three areas where this can be problematic:
1) Different language
I’m a Boomer and have used Boomer cultural references in my psychology and sociology courses. Sometimes these fall flat with other age groups. Assuming it’s not because my jokes are too corny to be funny, this has to be due to our language barrier.
Language in this context includes both words and the images which they convey.
2) Different life experiences
A young person recently out of high school has a whole different set of experiences and interests than someone being retrained for their second, third, or seventh career change.
Some folks are stuck emotionally in high school, with their focus everywhere but on the coursework. Others are highly focused on getting that degree. Many balance multiple other roles and responsibilities, while some have nothing else to do but go to school. Some are married, some are parents, some are bosses.
I resist the idea of generational values because we are still ultimately individuals and ranges of behavior and beliefs will hopefully always exist. However, I do see some differences in what is important and what is not between people of differences age ranges.
Some are conservative and some are liberal, some are outgoing and some are not, some are focused on family and flexibility, others on achievement and effort. Responsibilities and roles do change as we age – relationships change.
Education, in my opinion, is more constant and germane to all age groups now than it has been in the past.
USEFULNESS IN LEARNING
In learning environments, I try to treat differences that pop up during discussions as springboards for exploring why people have different viewpoints.
I find this to be helpful in developing critical thinking skills and fascinating from a personal point of view.
TECHNOLOGY ASIDE: I did not mention technology familiarity since that is usually just a matter of time – in adoption and in speed of usage. I may not intuitively “get” a new app or tool, but I’ll figure it out:)
Considering my long-held and cherished beliefs in the Heartland …
Actually, I’m in a coffee shop in Frisco, Texas right now, but you get the idea:) ….