Article Financieel Dagblad

Fontys Information and Communication Technology

Teaching Millenials

“The Shanghai Institute of Technology, one of the most prominent players in the world of education in China, asked me to research into the innovators of European higher professional education (HBO). Eric Slaats, who works with me at Fontys University, has provided seven astute observations on the topic.” Carl Rhode, Cultural Sociologist

1. The current education industry is mostly teaching students how to take exams. After the exams, the vast majority of the subject matter is quickly forgotten. Every instructor is familiar with that one pressing question students have: do we need to know this? It’s only human, of course, but also quite a grim educational objective.

2. Millennium students no longer have the attention span for lectures. This is the hyper-link generation. Ask them what they want, what they are busy with. Focus on that. Preparing lessons in the old style is over: the learning materials are right in front of you.

3. Holding 20th century classes is sad. No matter how good an instructor is, almost no one is listening. The social media are only one click away.

4. Create a web of companies that offer relevant, practical  challenges. Students will be sure to tackle those. Call the companies ‘educational partners’.

5. Do not invest in the creation of textbooks. That medium is dying. Instead, unleash the knowledge that is available on the Internet.

6. Instructors should implement many small feedback moments and progress interviews. These should replace exams - see point 1.

7. Leave the classroom. Give nutrition courses on an organic farm. Invite refugees to come bake bread in their own traditional manner. Let the education be part of the city. I,myself have taught classes in two theatres, a store and a  café this year. The Fontys Academy for Creative Industries enables its students to work and study at the Amsterdam Dance Event Academy.

The hyper-link generation does not tolerate ivory towers. Connecting to their perceived world is a cliché, but also necessary for the survival of educational institutes. I generally believe students should not complain and should just start working. But educational innovator Slaats is correct when he states that education should only take place in what the new generation is interested in. Otherwise: nothing. 






Tags: In the Media