Do teachers really exist for Millennials / Digital generation?

Varunan : Associate Professor
Center for Animation, Game Art Design & Business
Back in 1999, when i was a young college student, i remember, that i had to be ready with my book, pen and sketch book so that i would not miss even a single word of my lecturer who has a habit of entering into the class reciting the problem for the day, which he would never repeat it again. But, today, when i have become a lecturer and with an experience of lecturing nearly about 1000+ students, have realised that, i cannot teach my students the way i have been taught. This creates a fundamental challenge for all the teachers or lecturers globally. Young learners who are either school going or university students, feel that their teachers are not upto their expectation.

Where is the fundamental problem? Why there is a gap between students and teachers…? well on further looking into the situation, these young learners are born with introduction to digital world or the millennial generation, whereas the teachers who are in their mid 30’s or even older, belong to the “Lost Generation”, normally people who are born between 1970’s to 1990’s. These millennial generations, have access to abundance of information, which is generally unrestricted or not channelised and they are able to surf the internet and learn the concepts (though not thoroughly, at times) and since they have or feel that they have a fair idea about the content, do not get so much enticed with their lectures class.

Having said this, we need to understand that  this situation would not change, as digital technology or internet has already penetrated into the world much deeper than expected and with this current situation, a concept of TEACHER CANNOT EXIST. 

So, how do we teach these students, if they can find out everything from google. Well the answer is, there can be no more teachers and there is a dearth of FACILITATORS. There is a very clear difference between teachers and facilitators as the former can teach and the latter can make students learn. Facilitators can help students by making them learn and guiding them through the brief or the class. A facilitator would make students learn through their experience and not their the context of text book which has been drafted by Lost Generation who has no idea about the future of Millennial generation. The Great scholar socrates, teaches his disciples through question and answer method, where he would pose questions for his students, who had to research and find answers and would again be challenged with further questions, which eventually will lead the learners in search of knowledge in various dimensions, which would give them more expansion of vision.

Students need to be challenged intellectually, where they need to learn from research, analyses and evaluation and not merely by mugging up their texts. Facilitators should teach concepts and ideas and process of research with execution, which gives more focus for cognitive development. A good facilitator must focus on developing four skills in a student which would help a student to become a self learner for life.
  1. Knowledge & Understanding: A facilitator, must challenge the student intellectually and should feed the student with sources where the student can find relevant informations which will help him to increase his knowledge and indepth understanding. On whatever topics, the student is working on, he/she must posses a greater depth of knowledge and must be able to show or evidence his clear understanding by applying the same on his project brief.
  2. Cognitive skill: Another important skill which has to be imparted or developed in a student by a facilitator is cognitive thinking. A student must be guided by a facilitator to research, analyse, synthesise and evaluate informations with which appropriate decisions and judgments are arrived at. Often in a learning process, the challenge that the current millennial generation faces is the abundance of unfiltered information. A facilitator, with his experience can guide the student and also should encourage the student to dissect the facts and try various process before coming to the final solution.
  3. Transferrable skill: With the constantly changing technology, lifestyle also changes and so does every industry. One of the important skill that a millennial generation should pick up is to be able to fit into any tasks that may come up in his life. A facilitator must guide the student to use his knowledge in any direction or any scope of work that may be assigned to him.
  4. Professional Skills: Finally, a facilitator must develop professional skills in their students, which is highly lacking among the current education system. On whatever the task a student may take up in his life, there must be absolute professionalism in approach and delivery, which has to be nurtured and developed by  facilitator for his students.

These above four skills are something which cannot be self learn and that is something that has to be experienced and that is why a student needs to come to college and learn from his facilitator and not only from his online source.

Associate Professor – Varunan, being a seasoned academician and entrepreneur with more than a decade of experience in teaching and heading institution like ICAT Design & Media College, has his expertise and research interest in the fields of Animation, Game Design & Development, Virtual reality and Augmented Reality. Varunan did his masters in Management and has a teaching certification from Birmingham City University (UK).


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