How do we teach/treat Gen Z students?
Gen Z students, born between 1997-2015, are 21st-century learners. They have been born into technology and they understand technology. Their attention spans are really short. In the past, we could go 20-30 minutes in a clinical session. That is probably not the case now. These students need short bits of rapidly evolving approaches to any one goal you have for them in clinic.
They want to know things have a purpose. It's important when serving clients and students from Gen Z that you explain the purpose of what you're doing. Once they're out of that age of play-based therapy, give them the reason they're doing the activity and give them the outcome you’re looking for. That increases the likelihood of compliance and participation. But it also needs to be beneficial to their life. You need that buy-in from them. We used to think that this was only a factor for adult learners, but that's really not the case, generationally.
Gen Z individuals’ circles are really global. They're connected with people all over the world and not just the people next to them in a classroom. How are we going to accommodate the fact that they're getting information from all over the place and not just from you?
This generation likes audiences. They are kind of a performative generation, the “Tik Tok generation”. Is there something you can integrate into your clinical work where they can perform or where they can demonstrate? That can give them a lot of incentive.
Additionally, they want information in little, consumable bits and they want to be able to make and create. Again, do you have goals for these students that you could adapt so they're demonstrating it through making, creating and performing? That can really increase their buy-in for your goals.
Refer to the SpeechPathology.com course, Working with Students and Patients from Generation Z, for more information on Gen Z's strengths and limitations, and how best to adapt education, training and clinical service provision for these individuals.