THE FIRST ROUND of CAO acceptances have filtered into Tipperary Institute and it looks like 22 new faces will meet me for Media Writing. I'm getting the inside scoop on these first year students by paging through Managing Generation Y by Carolyn Martin and Bruce Tulgan. They say that members of Generation Y "want to be 'paid volunteers' - to join organizations not because they have to, but because they really want to, because there's something significant happening there." Gen-Yers may share their lecturers' passion for multimedia but with a twist. They don't do things exactly the way they're told. They don't expect a long apprenticeship doing on the way up the payscale.
Some things I have noted about this slice of the Irish population:
- They have high self-esteem and don't intimidate easily. In fact, they're as likely to push back if they sense pressure from the front of the class. Either that, or they work around the teacher.
- Their second level teachers offered positive reinforcement. They didn't have to return to base and start again like me.
- No teacher in the past five years gave them a dig to correct their behaviour. I can still feel the ruler wielded by Sister Mary Mummy. Instead, my freshers will try to report bullying if they sense stress during continuous assessment production sessions.
- Several of the incoming class have dual-career parents who completed their kids' CAO forms, sorted their accommodation and will do their laundry if they return with dirty clothes on weekends.
- They want to be successful.
- They demand quality as consumers and see themselves as clients, more than as students.
- They know and wear brands.
- They do not fear technology. They relish the opportunity to make gadgets do their work.
- Text messaging, VCR tapes and microwave ovens have reduced the waiting time in their lives.
- They can define the parameters of a well-balanced work-life ratio. They know at least six families who lived through periods of unemployment.
- They know how to invoke passive aggression.
My tactic is to motivate by mentoring. I assign overhead tasks and ask them to book one-on-one time with me. They quickly realise that if they don't listen to lectures or dutifully observe demos, they will be completing more of their projects with less assistance.
To manage Gen-Y students, I've read a few books and reviewed the Beloit College mindset list which describes the cultural realities of each year's incoming freshman class. The Irish cultural realities are a little different but aligned closely in the realm of entertaiment and career expectations.
Jill Geisler -- "Boomer Bosses, Meet Your New Employees"