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Are you culturally current with the millennial generation?

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE I love the millennial generation. Their enthusiasm for life energizes me. Unfortunately, what we typically hear about the millennial generation are horror stories about helicopter parents and students who ooze with entitlement issues. What we don’t often hear about this generation of learners are the very things I love most about them. I love their passion for our earth, their willingness to embrace diversity, their desire to connect, their desire for meaningful learning, and their love of technology. Yes, we can stomp our feet and demand that our students conform to our teaching style. We can complain that they are dependent on technology, that they resist a strict diet of lectures, and that they embrace instant gratification. In other words, we can resist what is. Or we can meet millennial students where they are, demonstrating that we are the transformational leaders our students need. Meeting students where they are includes becoming culturally current.  Christy Price tells us that millennial students express frustration when professors don’t know how to use the technology in their classrooms. They perceive professors as “lacking connection to Millennial culture” when they use old shows that were relevant 15 years ago but are no longer “practical references that the average college student […]

Why We Need to Address the WIIFM Question in Our Classroom

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE Have you seen the Broadway show Kinky Boots? There are many great lines in the show. But, one of my favorite lines reminds me of what I believe all college students ask themselves when they’re sitting in our classrooms. WIIFM? The shop owner is excitedly explaining his ideas about expanding his shoe shop to Kinky. And a bored Kinky asks the owner, “Are you going to get to the part about where it concerns me?” In other words, Kinky’s asking, “What’s in it for me?” (WIIFM) meaning, “How is this relevant to what I want?  I’m curious. How often do we educators charge into our classrooms and similar to the shop owner splatter our students with content before answering the WIIFM question? I admit that I’ve done it. Typically, it’s because I’ve had “so much material to cover” that I’ve lost myself in trying to get to it. How do we know when students DO NOT perceive the material as being relevant to them? Eyes are glazing over. Cell phones are in use. Social media posts are rampant In other words, we have a classroom full of inattentive students.  How do we get into this spot? We have agendas, objectives, and a curriculum to satisfy. That’s naturally where our thoughts […]

A Rapid Fire Strategy to Stimulate Positivity in the Classroom

By Kelly Beischel PhD, RN, CNE Why ask students what’s new and good in their life? Well, I’ve discovered that infusing positivity at the beginning of classes, meetings, retreats, or coaching calls puts participants in a positive frame of mind. And why is this important? The literature bears out that positive moods produce broader attention, more holistic thinking and more creative thinking in students. How cool is that? Positivity Intervention The intervention is quite simple really. Ask a few students at random “what’s new and good” at the beginning of class. And then wait for their answers.   Additional Benefits Students’ answers give us insight into what’s going on in their lives and it positions students to embrace positivity, to embrace gratitude as a way of life. That’s a win-win in my book. I remember the first time I asked my students in class, “what’s new and good?” They looked at me with baffled expressions. So, I explained, “I’m asking what is new in your life that you are happy about and grateful for.” In the beginning, they had difficulty coming up with an answer. I patiently waited while they scrambled to think of anything that was good. As this persisted over a few weeks, some would even say to me, “you’re […]

How Creating Ground Rules in the Classroom Buys Freedom

By Kelly Beischel When my husband and I recently attended a Cincinnati Reds game I watched the umpires give the coaches their ground rules. Now mind you over the past 10 years the Cincinnati Reds have played approximately 400 games at the Great American Ballpark. The foul lines are clearly chalked and the foul pole in the outfield is neon yellow. Surely they know what’s in play and what’s a foul. Yet, the other night I clearly saw the umpires giving both coaches the ground rules. I couldn’t help but think, ‘Really? Like they don’t know where the foul line is?’ Since then, I learned that there are universal ground rules and ballpark ground rules. Universal ground rules are to be used in all Major League ballparks whereas ballpark ground rules are individualized to each park. So, yes the opposing team needed the ground rules. This  got me thinking about how similar ground rules are to a course syllabus. There are universal rules of the game for all college students yet each course has it’s own ground rules found in the course syllabus. In fact, the success of a course is dependent on a syllabus with explicit ground rules. A course syllabus is your contract with the student. While thinking […]

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