Dystopian Literature, Millennials, and Teaching

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Dystopian Literature, Millennials, and Teaching

  1. 1. Dystopian  Literature,  Millennials,     and  Teaching:       Why  It  May  Be  Time  for  Us  to  Rethink  How  We  Teach? Gordon Harvey, Professor & Head! JSU Department of History & Foreign Languages! gharvey@jsu.edu! @thisrunninglife!
  2. 2. Generations • Greatest (WW2) • Baby Boomers • Gen X • Millennials
  3. 3. Greatest Generation • 1901/1924 - 1924/1943 • Depression, WW 2 • Sense of purpose, duty • Hard work = progress, improvement • Reagan, Jack Nicholson
  4. 4. Baby Boomers • 1946 - 1964 • Space flight, Civil Rights, Vietnam, Watergate • Stereotype: Hippies • Current holders of power • Oprah, Bill Gates, Steve Jobs
  5. 5. • WW 2/Baby Boomer generation • no tech • accidental selfie
  6. 6. Generation X • 1965 - 1981 • “MTV generation” • Post-Vietnam, Post- Watergate, Recessions, Peak and end of Cold War • Stereotype: greedy, self- involved • Jon Stewart, Kurt Cobain, me
  7. 7. Millennials • 1982 - 2004 • Gen Y, “Nexters" • Prosperity & recession, rapid change technology, • Stereotype: narcissistic, aimless • Mark Zuckerberg, LeBron James, Morgan Knutson (dropbox) • google this: “millennial entrepreneurs”
  8. 8. • Millennials grew up with tech • Intentional selfie
  9. 9. Not your father’s classroom
  10. 10. Courtesy: Susan Rennie
  11. 11. –Person who doesn’t get millennials “…glued to smartphones rather than engaged with work or their world”
  12. 12. –Strauss and Howe, Millennials Rising “Expect teamwork instead of free agents, political action instead of apathy, t-shirts with school colors instead of corporate swooshes, on-your-side teamwork instead of in-your-face sass.”
  13. 13. Characteristics of Millennials • Optimistic! • they’ve been told all their lives: • how special they are • how they can do anything • so, they believe their generation can do good things
  14. 14. Characteristics of Millennials • Sheltered upbringing • Post-Columbine, safest kids in US history • They expect to be protected
  15. 15. Characteristics of Millennials • Confident! • Optimistic about their future and the future in general • BUT, confident within structure • Taught that follow rules = success • They stifle creativity if it is a threat to success
  16. 16. Characteristics of Millennials • Team, not “me, me”! • Strong team orientation • Community is crucial to them • “tight peer bonds” • Seek practical implications and solutions
  17. 17. Characteristics of Millennials • Pressure • Pushed to study hard, make good grades • “Trophy kid” syndrome • Can inhibit own creativity = “right answer” over “good answer”
  18. 18. Characteristics of Millennials • Achievement! • Smart, high self-expectations • Technology is central to this • Expect to be challenged
  19. 19. We often teach in the manner in which we were taught
  20. 20. But perhaps we should teach in the manner in which they learn
  21. 21. Embracing change is not easy
  22. 22. Millennials I get, but Dystopian Literature?
  23. 23. Dystopia • Futuristic society where the illusion of a perfect society is held in place by corporate, bureaucratic, moral, or totalitarian control. • Follow and don’t question our rules and all will be well for you
  24. 24. Dystopian Society • Independent thought and freedom restricted • Conform to uniform expectations • Individuality and dissent are bad
  25. 25. Dystpoian Protagonist • Feels trapped, wants escape • Questions existing social, political system • Confident enough to fight back • Feels like there has to be a better way
  26. 26. –Dana Stevens, slate.com “It’s not a mystery why so many young-adult best sellers would take place in post- apocalyptic societies governed by remote authoritarian entities and rigidly divided into warring factions.”
  27. 27. –Dana Stevens, slate.com “Young adult dystopias externalize the turmoil that’s already taking place in adolescent hearts, minds, and bodies.”
  28. 28. The conundrum • They want shelter, but not overprotection • They want to be challenged, but not controlled • Thrive in structure, but stifle creativity to do so • They’re confident, but almost overconfident • They’re group focused, yet we teach them individually • No kid learns the same, yet we often teach them as if they do
  29. 29. Teaching Millennials • Sheltered lives? Give quality student-teacher contact • Need community? Offer reciprocity and cooperation • Pressured? Provide regular and constructive feedback • Confidence/Overconfidence? Teach them about time management, time on task • High expectations? Move beyond the grade to life itself • Diversity of learning styles? No ONE solution. Some kids are chalkboards, some are paper, some are iPads, some are all three
  30. 30. Institutional resistance • Not everyone will embrace you: the state, the board,your colleagues, “the man” • “Yeaahhhh…this new pedagogical technique is nice, but I’m gonna need you to check these boxes we established for you. That’d be great.”
  31. 31. Milton’s stapler • Bureaucracy, state regulations, outcomes, parental expectations, student motivation…all we want is our red Swingline stapler…
  32. 32. Remove one wall, see a new world
  33. 33. Take one bite, you MIGHT like it
  34. 34. Thanks for the pie-in-the-sky stuff, ivory tower guy • I’m going through this, too • I’m a great lecturer—love being the star, hard to give up • Incremental change, embrace your tech comfort zone • NOT for everyone • I know we have standards to meet, rules to follow, trouble to avoid— but let’s be daring
  35. 35. Sources • http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/movies/2014/03/ divergent_starring_shailene_woodley_and_the_hunger_games_why_teens_love.html • Howe and Strauss, Millennials Rising • www.professorjosh.com • http://articles.latimes.com/2013/jul/07/local/la-me-millennial-optimism-20130708 • Maureen Wilson, “Teaching, Learning, and Millennial Students,” (2004). • http://www.readwritethink.org/files/resources/lesson_images/lesson926/ DefinitionCharacteristics.pdf • http://www.scdgroup.net/2012/01/generations-by-numbers-why-association.html • http://www.pewinternet.org/2010/12/16/generations-2010/ • http://allthingslearning.files.wordpress.com/2012/06/ivory-tower-tg-version.png

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