Thursday, February 11, 2010

Interesting article about long terms effects of the recession

Take a read! There's a lot of apparently depressing research about the impacts of unemployment on things like future earnings and physical health. Basically, people just a year or two younger than me who graduated into the Great Recession will probably earn $100,000 less than me over an identical career and will be significantly more likely suffer from depression, alcoholism and so on. Blerg.

What stuck out at me, though, was this:
Ron Alsop, a former reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the author of The Trophy Kids Grow Up: How the Millennial Generation Is Shaking Up the Workplace , says a combination of entitlement and highly structured childhood has resulted in a lack of independence and entrepreneurialism in many 20-somethings. They’re used to checklists, he says, and “don’t excel at leadership or independent problem solving.” Alsop interviewed dozens of employers for his book, and concluded that unlike previous generations, Millennials, as a group, “need almost constant direction” in the workplace. “Many flounder without precise guidelines but thrive in structured situations that provide clearly defined rules.”
This is very true of my students. The article blames it on parenting and teaching methods. They may be right, but I'm not sure what can be done about it. My giant, year-long research project for grad school is all about encouraging student self-sufficiency and independence. It's going...ok. There's a lot of things we can do as teachers to push students, but in all of them there comes a point where the student has to be willing to put in the work and to persevere when things get hard. I can't do it for them, that's the whole point!

So if this is already a problem by high school, when and how can it be fixed? How can children be encouraged not to have falsely high self-esteem but the kind of deep confidence that allows one to push through when things get hard?