How do we teach (or train): The Silent Generation

Summary: Teaching and Training The Silent Generation

  • Established the hierarchical structure in organizations

  • Negative perceptions of today’s students and teachers

William Strauss wrote an article focused, primarily, on schools made up of Gen X and Gen Y(ers). His article presents a great overview of different generations in the classroom but his information on the impact the Silent Generation has had on the classroom is foundational. We have to realize that Silents, until recently, were school (both K-12 and Higher Ed.) administrators. So- they set the tone and then when they left their positions Boomers began to lead. Strauss says, specifically, that Silents seem to be the most negative about today’s teachers and students. This mentality is prevalent in all generations, to a certain extent. This is part of the reason why I believe a generational understanding is so important. We cannot assume that just because someone is “younger” or “older” or has a specific generation-classification that they are less effective or that their way of doing ________ is less efficient.

Because most “Silents” have retired I will not spend as much time thinking about teaching or training, but I do believe it helps to have a context. Silents established hierarchical systems that still resound today. So, how is a Millennial employee in Louisville, KY, or elsewhere, impacted by the Silent Legacy? Silents set the stage for Boomers who took the leadership structure one step further and Silents also demonstrated a distaste for the next generation and their “way of functioning.” So, for communication purposes we have to understand the foundation, recognize the longstanding impact, and move forward recognizing that “new” may not be better (or worse). Training to overcome this mindset is essential.

What’s your legacy?

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