Teaching Millennials: First, Who Are They?

By Peter Connor

There's a new generation on campus. Born between 1980 and 2000, they are Internet savvy, skateboard-nimble, and Nintendo-quick. Known as the "Net" or "Millennium" generation, they are wired and ready for action like never before. Sitting in your classroom, they're ready to learn.

But how to teach them? How to communicate with them? What stimulates the "Millennial" student? What motivates them? What's their background, their expectations? Are they that much different? Answers and insight both are at your fingertips.

When a "Net-Genner" wants an answer, he or she turns to the Internet. It's an automatic reflex: instant info at broadband speed. Entering keyword phrases such as "millennial generation," "millennium generation" and "Y generation," quickly returns a variety of informative articles.

The common thread: "Millennials" are fast, multi-tasking, high achievers who have led highly-paced, highly-structured, helicopter-parent driven lives involving plenty of positive multi-cultural exposure, group activity, and shared family time. Computer literate and techno-savvy, how they live and learn is quite different than their predecessors.

To find out more about what keeps current college students ticking, check out the following online articles:


Raines, C. (2002). Millennials@Work. Retrieved January 30, 2012 from http://generationsatwork.com/articles_millennials_at_work.php

Yan, S. (2006, December 8). Understanding Generation Y. The Oberlin Review. Retrieved, January 30, 2012, from http://www.oberlin.edu/stupub/ocreview/2006/12/08/features/Understanding_Generation_Y.html

Rothberg, D. (2006, August 24). Generation Y for Dummies. eWeek.com. Retrieved, January 30, 2012, from http://www.eweek.com/c/a/IT-Management/Generation-Y-for-Dummies/