This study aimed to learn more about the millennial students, what they felt was important to learn, what resources were most important, and how they would evaluate some of their own skills.
The participants were preservice teachers, who enrolled to the teacher education program in a large, fully accredited teacher education program in the Rocky Mountain West region of the United States. All participants born between 1980 and 2001. Almost all of the participants classified themselves as White American (97%) and almost all were female (93%).
The participants completed a survey, which included three parts: Most Important Things to Learn to be an Effective Teacher ; Most Important Resources to be an Effective Teacher, and Self Assessment of Abilities and Traits.
The findings reveal that the millennial preservice teachers in this study indicated what they wanted most to learn in their teacher education program was about how to manage student behavior.
The findings also suggest that millennial preservice teachers understand that their future students will come from a variety of cultures and backgrounds and have a range of abilities.
The participants ranked how to develop “A respectful and caring classroom" as the third most important topic millennials hoped to learn more about in their teacher education programs.
The participants also ranked “Understanding professional, legal, and ethical responsibilities” as the last of the top five items. The authors argue that the high ranking of this item may be an indicator of the awareness by preservice teachers of the growing demand for teachers to be professionally accountable.
The authors conclude that the findings from this study suggest some important points for teacher education faculty and teacher education programs to consider when designing coursework and teacher training experiences.
First, they note it is important to note that these millennial preservice teachers are very interested in the unique backgrounds and experiences of their future students.
Second, they found that millennial preservice teachers did not see as much value in learning about assessment as we had imagined. They argue that teacher educators need to be aware of this resistance and should spend time modeling how assessment can be used to inform instruction and should not be interpreted as a way to penalize students.
Third, they recommend that teacher educators look for ways to be more relevant. This study suggests that teacher educators need to do more to help students to link what they learn in coursework to their goals of being effective teachers.
Fourth, the authors recommend that teacher educators be mindful that millennial preservice teachers may be particularly sensitive to feedback and critique.