Advancing the Debate around ‘Millennials’

Latifa Belfakir


The singularity of the generation of students entering the education system today has excited
recent attention of educators and animated debates among education analysts. Yet, the
analytical inquiry of the millennial literature discloses a clear mismatch between the
confidence with which assertions about the young generation are made and the evidence for
such assertions. It seems that much of the debate about the special educational needs of these
people has been stimulated by Marc Prensky’s initial remarks on ‘digital natives’ and ‘digital
immigrants’ since 2001. Termed ‘millennials’, ‘digital natives’ or the ‘Net generation’, these
young people are said to have been absorbed by technology, which imbued them with refined
technical skills, sophisticated needs and learning preferences for which traditional education
is unprepared. For Prensky (2001) today’s students are different in that they think and process
information fundamentally differently from their predecessors. It is argued in this paper that
these pretentious claims and ambitious generalizations made education commentators about
this generation need more empirical evidence before they could function as the starting point
for any prospective reforms of the education system, in our country, at least.


Millennials, Generation specialists, technological skills, helicopter parenting, optimistic, confidence.

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