Understanding and Teaching Generation Y

Abstract

E nglish teaching professionals working with children in primary school, adolescents in secondary school, or adults at university know that learners nowadays think and behave differently than those from previous generations. These students were born into a world of information technology; they prefer to multitask rather than focus on one thing at a time, and they can be more attracted to the ideas of a peer or a web video than what their teachers have to offer. This generation has been given different names, including Net Gen, the Millennials, and Generation Y (McCrindle Research 2006). There is no precise time frame about when Generation Y—also called " Gen Y " —came into being; some researchers indicate it began in 1977, some suggest 1980 (Lan-caster and Stillman 2002), and others say 1982 (Wessels and Steenkamp 2009). In spite of these differences, there is no doubt that Gen Y makes up a significant part of the world's population—20 percent, according to NAS Recruitment Communications (2006). Because Gen Y's members are young, it is fair to say that most Eng-lish as a Second/Foreign Language (ESL/EFL) learners belong to this cohort, making it worthy of teachers' attention and understanding. Not surprisingly, the majority of research and reports in the media about Gen Y comes from developed nations, specifically the United States. However, the examination of Gen Y is on the rise at universities throughout the world, including in countries such Gen Y receives substantial attention in the professional literature of many fields, this is not true of ELT journals. This lack of attention is unfortunate because most English language learners are Gen Yers. This article will address this gap by informing ELT professionals about the nature of Gen Y and presenting a few teaching strategies designed to engage this generation in the English classroom.

Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Reilly2011UnderstandingAT, title={Understanding and Teaching Generation Y}, author={Peter Lawrence Reilly}, year={2011} }