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New Generation School NGS
4, Zhangir khan str., Yermensai dstr., Almaty +7 (708) 704 55 44

Generation theory from X to Z

The conflict of generations is an age-old topic, but today it is more popular than ever. The mass media is full of new terms-x's, baby boomers, Z-gen, i-Generation. Social networks actively discuss the differences between the psychology of Millennials and Homelanders. And we ourselves, NGS school employees and part-time parents, often refer to the theory of generations when we talk about a new approach to education.

Теория поколений

What is this theory and how is it useful for parents and teachers?

The theory of generations was developed by American historians William Strauss and Neil Howe. Their first book, Generations, in 1991, described the history of the United States through a series of generations. Later, the authors noticed a pattern in the change of generations and put forward a global theory that gained popularity far beyond the States.

According to this theory, our history repeats cycles, each of which consists of four archetypes of generations. What is meant by "generation"? This is a group of people born in a time span of about 22 years. Due to the fact that representatives of the same generation experience certain historical events at the same age, they form similar beliefs and behavioral characteristics, which were analyzed and generalized by American scientists.

The Strauss-Howe theory is simple, operates with clear images and allows you to predict the behavior of large masses of people. HR specialists base their hiring strategies on it. Marketers create advertising campaigns using generational characteristics. Many scientific articles have been written about how to find a common language for parents and children, teachers and students as representatives of different generations. But before we take advantage of this theory, let's look at everything on the shelves.


What shapes generations?

The idea of Strauss and Howe is that there is a direct relationship between historical events and behavioral patterns of generations. Wars, revolutions, economic crises, epidemics, or, conversely, scientific discoveries and periods of prosperity shape generations in childhood and youth. As adults, these people become the engines of history, and in old age give way to their descendants.

According to this theory, the history of civilizations consists of a series of crises and awakenings that follow each other. The cycle lasts about 80 years – that's about one human life. At different ages, each person finds the following stages, which adherents of the theory of generations compare with the seasons: Winter (crisis) - Spring (flourishing) – Summer (stability) – Autumn (withering). During crises, people strive to establish a strict order in society in order to resist danger. During the awakening, individualism comes to the fore, which tries to break down rigid boundaries and proclaim new spiritual values.

What are the types of generations?

The archetype of a generation depends on the stage in which society is at the time of the formation of a person's personality. There are 4 of these types in total.

Prophets are born during the awakening period (Spring). They are optimistic and focused on creating a bright future. Their children, born during a period of stability (Summer), are Wanderers who protest against the culture of consumption and seek new ideals. The next generation are heroes, confident and active fighters who defend existing values. They are born during the withering period of society (Autumn). The heroes are replaced by artists. They are born during a crisis, so they have to be flexible and adapt to the existing system.


Who are the X's, Y's, and Z's

Simply put, this is us and our children. What features do these generations have that are interesting for NGS parents and educators? Let's figure it out!

Generation X (1961-1981) - the Wanderers. Other names: Xers, Generation 13, Unknown generation. These are living witnesses to the pre-Internet era:) Their childhood was spent under the Soviet Union, and the cold war and the war in Afghanistan made these people individualists and reactionaries.

The main distinguishing feature is independence. They were called "children with a key around their neck": they came home themselves, cooked themselves, walked themselves. These children got little parental warmth and care, but a lot of gifts. Therefore, as they grew up, they grew up and became mass consumers.

Typical characteristics: literacy, global awareness, high IQ, self-reliance, pragmatism, ability to survive in critical situations, curiosity, hard workaholism and an inexhaustible supply of patience.

Generation Y (1982-2004) – the heroes. Other names: Millennials, next generation, network generation, echo boomers. As children, they saw the Chernobyl accident, the collapse of the Soviet Union, terrorist attacks and armed conflicts, and default-and this, oddly enough, made them optimistic, sociable, responsible and confident.

Millennials were particularly influenced by the development of information technology and the total availability of information, including music, movies, and books, as well as the ability to communicate with people from all over the world. Their distinctive feature is the desire for self-realization. Flexible schedules and creativity are important in working and learning for gen Y representatives.

Generation Z (2005 -...) - artists. Other names: generation MeMeMe, Net Generation, i-Generation, Generation M (from the word "multitasking"), Homebodies, New silent generation, generation of innovators. Events that influenced this generation: the global financial and economic crisis, Web 2.0, and the development of mobile technologies.

The fundamental property of Generation Z technology is in his blood. The key term in this whole story is Digital Natives. In the digital world, they are "local themselves". Generation Z develops in chats, forums, and communities. They seem to be together, but each in their own gadget, each at home. Family is the safest place on earth for them.

These children are characterized by high social activity and the need to constantly exchange information. They are independent in their judgments and do not like strict rules. Generation Z lives effortlessly and does not recognize authorities, preferring to communicate on equal terms.

Education of the future

Not so long ago, teachers worked with generation X students who value individualism and independence. They easily accepted the passive method of teaching, independent work, which in a certain way influenced the methodology of education. A new generation of students needs changes and new interactive forms of learning.

Given the propensity of representatives of Y and Z to use technical innovations, it is advisable to include collective forms of training and innovative equipment in the educational process. It is also important that new students perceive teachers not as leaders, but as partners. Therefore, we have included such forms as a round table (discussion), brainstorm, master class, case-study, and multimedia presentations in the NGS training process. "Active" learning allows you to constantly introduce novelty, keep the student's attention on the subject and effectively acquire new skills, and new technologies allow you to make the material more vivid and easier to remember.


Should we believe the generational theory

Any opportunity to classify people is attractive. Who would not want to "read" the character of a person, having estimated not even a year, but a decade of birth? However, the theory of generations, although it helps to better understand relatives and friends, is only a simplified view of the relationship of history, society and the individual. It is worth remembering that any child (and a parent) is primarily an individual. And this is not a theory, but our axiom.


Previously on this topic