By Ivan Del Val:
Critics argue that not all children learn the same way, and the same thing can be said about college students. College courses serve many different types of students. Although they’re mainly made up of millennials, people born between 1981 and 2000; there are also Generation Xers, those born between 1965 and 1980; baby boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, and traditionalists, born before 1946.
According to the Florida Institute of Technology, Gen Xers are competent with technology, more independent and reality driven; whereas millennials expect technology, have a short attention span and are not accustomed to negative feedback.
As a result, numerous instructors at Amarillo College adapt their teaching methods for different generational styles.
“For some of my older students, I have to go slower or re-explain things, or do one-on-one with them, and then of course we have the millennials who are so high-tech and everything is about the computer,” Rebecca Avila, a technical writing instructor, said.
Other faculty members said simply giving students choices, solves many of the obstacles instructors face. “I try to explain things every way I know possible and let each person pick what works best for them,” Preston Tirey, a math instructor, said.
Since all the generations have their own learning traits and strategies, some students say professors should try to include everyone.
“I don’t think they should change their teaching styles fully because we do have a lot of students that are older, so I think they should incorporate new ways but still keep the old ways,” Shanice Vega, a millennial and psychology major, said.
According to Avila, who is also a high school teacher, what may work for one may not work for all. “A fish can swim, how good can a dog swim? You can’t judge them by the same thing because everyone does things differently,” she said.
In the same manner, every professor has his or her own teaching method, and some say it’s the student’s responsibility to adjust to that teaching style.
“Learning to adapt to professors’ styles, in my opinion, is what education is about. Your education is about learning how to take in knowledge and apply it to something,” Tirey said.
According to Tirey, it’s important for students to understand the process of knowing how to learn; however, many agree that there can be a middle ground.
“It works both ways, I think they should both adapt to each other. The professors shouldn’t make it completely easy and students shouldn’t want it all their way. I think teamwork is a good thing,” Vega said.