The Generation Gap

Author: Brad Howard   Date Posted:6 September 2017 

The Generation Gap



I’d like you to think about the grandmother in this picture when she was 5 years old. Her mother/father would have been about 25-30 years old. The grandmother in the picture would have been getting ready to start school and her parents would have been telling her about the days when they started school and how they had to listen to the teacher as the teacher new everything and would impart his/her knowledge upon them. Not a lot would have changed from the time (20-25 years) when the grandmother in the picture parents started school to when she started school. Vehicles may have become a little faster and more accessible, there would have been some more machines that made work a little easier, the kids would have moved from writing in chalk to pencil, the movies quality may have got a little better and telephones may have moved from an exchange to a home dial.


Now I would like you to think about the mother of this child in the picture who may be about 30 years old. In the last 30 years the mother has seen enormous changes such as internet, social media, smart phones, globalisation, 24 /7 news coverage, online shopping, 24/7 shopping, multiculturalism, rapid expansion of Australian cities. The changes in in the mothers world have been enormous compared to the first 30 years of the grandmother in the picture.


The child in the picture (about 5 years old) is growing up in an even more rapidly changing world. The child is experiencing revolutionary changes throughout each year of her life that include, Facebook, Uber, drone technology, automated vehicles, rapid growth of artificial intelligence, the extinction of many industries that have been around for centuries with new industries created weekly, immediate connection to anywhere in the world and an infinite amount of content and knowledge available to her.


Therefore when you put the grandmother’s experience of starting school and what school represented as compared to her 5 year granddaughter, the gap of change is phenomenol. As much of a human’s thought patterns, attitudes and values are formed in the first 5-7 years of life we can see that each generation grows up with a completely different pattern of learning based on their world at the time. I listen to my mother who is 77 and her attitudes about my 6 year old daughter should learn based on my mother’s schooling from 70 years ago and can clearly see she cannot grasp how my 6 year old approaches her world.


When at schools I hear teachers frustration at how parents of their students don’t grasp how the teachers are structuring the students learning and the parent refers back to when they went to school and how they learned. This argument is becoming more pronounced as time goes on and we as humans change to work in with our environment (the world) due to the rapid pace of change that is becoming greater between each generation. We now live in an age where parents and teachers are not the vessels of all knowledge as students have access to more knowledge they can learn from in a few weeks that could take a teacher a lifetime to teach.  


Two key areas I believe need addressing are:

1.Parents need to be educated on the world the children of today are entering into so they can better connect with their children and understand the best ways to mentor and prepare their children.

2.Educators need to ensure they are structuring their classrooms into an environment that fosters individualised learning, empowerment, creativity, morals, socialisation, collaboration, exploration and leadership.


For more information and strategies on these areas, please attend our professional development workshops advertised on this website.

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