Ms. Hira identifies certain challenges that crop up with Millennials. The first is hovering parents and how boundaries and codes of acceptable behavior need to be established. Next, face to face communication and conflict resolution skills are being replaced by electronic means, to sometimes detrimental results. She claims (to which I have certain reservations) that Millennials lack initiative and are paralyzed by a group-think mentality. Then, Millennials need fulfillment in their work, and will noticeably slack off when confronted with routine drudgery. Finally, diversity is taken for granted, while inclusivity is still a skill that Millennials need to explicitly confront.
So what do I think independent schools do to mitigate these challenges and encourage the positive tendencies in this generation (which were noticeably absent from this presentation!?!)? First and foremost, stop blaming the parents! In order to move forward with constructive solutions, independent schools need to recognize their part in the creation of Millennials mindsets. This is not just an external problem that needs to be fixed. We are now facing the results of the conscious student empowerment that we ourselves champion. Sure, parents need help establishing boundaries in a world where expectations of privacy are radically different. But our students also need help establishing emotional resiliency in a school culture where success is strictly quantified on every exam, report card, honor roll, and SAT score.
One of the points I loved about Ms. Hira's presentation was her discussion of dress code, all the more pertinant for the NAIS suit and tie/power suit crowd. The visual language of professionalism has changed for my generation. Who said that a teacher is less serious or less dedicated to his/her craft when wearing jeans? You'll recognize me at this conference as one of the only people in jeans. I've got on a nice blazer, but nevertheless jeans.
Addendum: A great question was asked: how does socio-economic class affect this generational paradigm? According to Hira, technology is the great unifier. With access to shared communities such as Facebook, Youtube, and Instagram, Millennials share culture to an extent that was previously impossible.