Teaching Generation Me

16 July 2009 at 9:24 am 2 comments

| Peter Klein |

Thanks to Maria Rodriguez for passing along this gem: Jean M.  Twenge, “Generational Changes and their Impact in the Classroom: Teaching Generation Me,” Medical Education 43(5): 398-405. From the abstract:

Methods: This paper reviews findings from a number of studies, most of which rely on over-time meta-analyses of students’ (primarily undergraduates’) responses to psychological questionnaires measuring IQ, personality traits, attitudes, reading preferences and expectations. Others are time-lag studies of nationally representative samples of high school students.

Results: Today’s students (Generation Me) score higher on assertiveness, self-liking, narcissistic traits, high expectations, and some measures of stress, anxiety and poor mental health, and lower on self-reliance. Most of these changes are linear; thus the year in which someone was born is more relevant than a broad generational label.

In the immortal words the Bette Midler character from Beaches: “But enough about me, let’s talk about you. . . . What do you think of me?”

Entry filed under: - Klein -, Teaching.

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2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Milton Recht  |  16 July 2009 at 7:45 pm

    Could these results be an unintended effect of small class size?

    A larger class by necessity forces development of self-reliance, group problem solving, compromise and burden sharing. Small class size with easier access to a teacher might induce more narcissism, self-liking, high expectations. It might increase stress because there are more limited group workouts of problems.

  • 2. REW  |  16 July 2009 at 7:58 pm

    If class size has any effect, it is probably of the opposite sign. These students arrive at university from large(r) high school classes where they were often not pushed hard relative to their received reward. I have observed that many of the more narcissistic undergraduates I have taught arrive from “wealthy” high schools in the affluent suburbs. Many of these “gen me” students are taken aback by homework, deadlines, reading assignments, and the dreaded “bell curve” in general education classes.

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