That mountain of snow you walked to school in everyday just became obsolete by tales of phones with cords. A “Did You Know” service announcement.

generation gap

Image via Google search.

Do you remember that sled piled three feet high with books that your parents use to treck up and down the side of a mountain in 12 ft. of snow in the middle of a blizzard just to get to school everyday. If you do…then, you’re ancient! If you have no idea what we’re talking about, then you’re probably a part of the Class of 2014 — or dare we say, younger.

For the Class of 2014, Clint Eastwood is known more as a “sensitive director” than as Dirty Harry. For students entering college this Fall, email is too slow, phones have never had cords, and the computers us 30-somethings played with in high school are now exhibits in museums. And few incoming freshmans will know how to write in cursive!

Too shocking to believe us? Then check out the Mindset List by Beloit College. The compilation, released today, is assembled each year by two officials, Ron Nief, former public affairs director at Beloit College, and Tom McBride, an English professor at the private school, and is meant to remind teachers that cultural references familiar to them might baffle, befuddle, or draw blank stares from college freshman (strictly speaking of this Fall’s freshmans, most were born in 1992). The intent is that by being aware of the generation gap helps professors craft lesson plans that are more meaningful.

For example, history professors, the Class of 2014 will associate the War in Iraq and Afghanistan with the disaster of 9-11 only, and a few may even know the termonology of Desert Storm and “that guy Sadam Hussein” fits in there somewhere. But for these freshman, they won’t know that U.S. conflicts with Iraq truly began with the Cold War and its conflict between the U.S., Russia, and Russia’s control of Afghanistan. For this generation of students, Russia and the U.S. have lived as neighbors in space, not as competitors in the “space race.”

The list is an interesting lesson in cultural perspective, comparing those thoughts, ideas, and objects that were controversial of yester year, to its modern counterpart that this Fall’s freshman’s live with. Plus, professors, the list may expand your current vocabulary to a more contemporary one — at the very least, you’ll know what the kids are talking about. 🙂

To see the list, visit http://www.beloit.edu/mindset.

Related:
Ramde, Dinesh. “Wear Wristwatch? Use E-mail? Not for Class of ’14.” The Associated Press. 17 Aug. 2010. Web. 17 Aug. 2010. http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20100817/ap_on_re_us/us_mindset_list.

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1 comment so far

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    You are so awesome! I don’t think I’ve truly read through something like that before.
    So wonderful to discover someone with a few original thoughts on this issue.
    Seriously.. thank you for starting this up.
    This website is one thing that’s needed on the web, someone
    with a little originality!


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