California Educator

June/July 2019

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They're in your classrooms and may be your colleagues. A new generation comes of age. By Sherry Posnick-Goodwin Photos by Scott Buschman They've never known a world with- out the Internet, smartphones and social media. They'd rather text than talk. They don't care much for books, watching TV or going to the mall with friends. Instead they prefer watching YouTube, streaming Netflix, playing video games and being online. In their brief lives, they've experi- enced the Great Recession, terrorist plots, mass shootings and fake news. They're slow to date or get a job. Raised during the economic crisis, they worry about the future. We're talking about Generation Z, those born between 1995 and 2012 — the students in your class, as well as young adults entering the workforce or on the brink of doing so. They make up 74 million Americans, or 24 percent of the population. Don't be fooled that they're named for the last letter of the alphabet. Gen Z (also known as iGen) is at the fore- front of tremendous cultural changes. Inside The challenges page 22 The opportunities page 25 Tips on teaching Gen Z page 26 How can educators best reach and teach Gen Z? What are the challenges these young people face — socially, emotionally and educationally? What are the opportunities that they and educa- tors can leverage to help them communicate and connect with the larger world? For answers, we look at who Gen Zers are and what they're experiencing as they grow up today. 21 J U N E / J U L Y 2 019 special report Generation

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