Section Name

The Forum


It is not unusual for instructors to face challenges relating to, understanding, or motivating their students. Educators can chalk this up to a variety of factors, including differences in and between education levels, life experiences, and ascribed power roles. We argue, however, that it is the generational differences between instructors and their students that pose a much greater challenge toward the establishment of a productive teacher-student relationship and the facilitation of learning. With the age of the Millennial college student upon us, we make the case that the most important area of training for new instructors is developing cultural awareness about the Millennial generation. As McGlynn (2005) said, “facilitating learning involves understanding who our students are” (p. 12). As such, we believe it is essential for new, and seasoned, instructors to learn about the social, cultural and environmental factors that shape the Millennial learner (Roberts, Newman, & Schwartzstein, 2012). In the following pages, we hope to inspire cultural curiosity through highlighting Millennial characteristics and recommending tools for developing cultural awareness in new college instructors.