TABLE OF CONTENTS
1.1. Gen Z and behavioural issues
1.2. Parent involvement
1.3. Language barriers and technology
1.4. Maslows theory of human needs
1.5. Piagets constructivism theory
3. Reference list
Teachers have a huge influence on learners, and it goes much deeper than the
content we teach. Just as the words we speak hold power, our reactions to
behavioural issues and interactions with learners has an immense impact on both
their personalities and the way they perceive learning. (Kelly, 2017)
The public enjoys criticizing teachers while remaining unaware and ignorant to the
issues teachers face. Teachers do indeed have an immense impact on the lives of
their learners, but their in fluence only amount to about a quarter of their learners.
Teachers dont just function as teachers and facilitators anymore; teachers are
forced to take on a new role as the temporary parents and caretakers of every
learner in their school environment. Tea chers need to address the issues learners
face daily to help improve teacher retention, learner success rate, and improve
quality of education in schools. (Meador, 2019)
This essay will focus on the parent involvement, Generation Z behavioural issues,
lan guage barriers and technology, Maslows theory of human needs and Piagets
constructivism theory and how all of the above ties into the development of a childs
1.1. Generation Z and behavioural issues
A teacher in the 21 st century has a huge res ponsibility and has more voids to fill. As
teenage parenthood becomes more evident in the new generation, behavioural
issues in the classroom becomes something every teacher has to struggle with. The
question that every teacher should be asking when confro nted with behavioural
issues is: What are the contributing factors to this disciplinary problem and what
should my reaction be? Instead, teachers lash out and make the learner feel even
worse. Words matter and the way we phrase things matter and they stick with our
learners. (Kelly, 2017)
In a TEDx talk, Nathaniel Turner (2018, 00:02:39) talks about Generation Z and why
millennials owe Gen Z an apology; he comes up with the I.D.E.A. analogy. I.D.E.A. is
an acronym for impatient, distracted, apathetic and entitled; which he describes a
Gen Z to be. Gen Z is impatient because they are the first digital generation; the
digital era gives us everything we need at an instant pace. Gen Z is distracted
because of the instant fast -paced lifestyle that the digital era created. Theres no
need to remember instructions, dates or information because you can just Google it
later. Gen Z is apathetic because social media provides us with instant gratification.
Theres no need to wait for happiness, just upload a picture a nd wait for a few likes.
Theres no hard work to that. He makes a comment closely related to something
Simon Sinek also mentioned in one of his interviews. Paraphrased from a Simon
Sinek interview in 2018: Millennials are entitled because they get parti cipation
medals. You get praised for coming in last.
We as teachers need to step into the digital era and make learners feel like they are
making an impact, have purpose and that life doesnt end after making a mistake or
failing after attempting someth ing. We need to provide them with a sense of purpose,
or theoretically, we need to provide learners with instant gratification. We need to
create a millennial -paced classroom that caters to impatient distracted apathetic and
entitled generation. (Turner, 2 018)
1.2. Parent involvement
There are endless debates all around the world surrounding parenthood; whether
that being teenage pregnancies, planned parenthood strikes, children being put into
an adoptive system that doesnt care for their wellbeing or parent involvement in the
shaping of their childrens future.
Parent involvement is a combination of commitment and active participation on the
part of the parent to the school and to the learner. As Dixon (1992, p. 16) states:
Parental involvement, in almost any form, produces measurable gains in learner
achievement LaBahn (1995) notes that schools have no idea how to deal with the
new age of non -traditional family dynamics. Nuclear families, mom, dad and one or
mode kids, arent considered as the norm anymor e. Its not uncommon to be raised
by a single mother or father, have same sex parents, be raised in a mixed family or
to be raised by grandparents or be raised by adoptive parents. We need to do a
better job at creating a safe environment for learners to f eel like they are accepted
and that their dynamic at home isnt uncommon or out -of -the -ordinary.
Theoretically, we have an accepting and embracing culture as South Africans, but
the reality is that we still have an amount of ignorance in our system. We n eed to
push for a culture of happiness, equality, liberty, acceptance and prosperity, where
teachers are actual interchangeable parents for the learners in their class. If learners
feel like they dont have the support at home, then teachers need to be tha t support.
For some, coming to school is an escape from their abusive, impoverished
households of sadness and hurt. Teachers have the power to address lack of
parenthood issues, just give them the resources and time to do so. Teachers cant
juggle between an everchanging curricula and still be expected to do some reflection
on every learner in class. A teacher -parent relationship needs to be pushed in
schools that succumb to socio -economic issues.
1.3. Language barriers and technology
Technological changes for ce both learners and teachers to evolve. By evolving,
learners become more challenging and teachers need to change their teaching
styles and methods of assessing learners. Social media has taken the world by
storm and even at a baby bloomer , generation x or millennial level, social media is
still an evident means of communication. With social media being a quicker and
more convenient way of communication, words were also tweaked to fit into an
everevolving world. Linguistically, these shortened abbreviation s and alternative
words are what we call cyber -slang, or just in general what we call slang. Tomoh
(2018) notes that literacy levels are dropping in schools all around the world. I
personally feel like teachers are using the wrong approach when it comes to
language and cognitive thinking methods. I constantly try to use the approach of pop
culture to introduce my lessons and new content. Using something learners
understand and can fully comprehend and then leading it into a more correct way of
speaking and writing. Teachers need to stay up to date with changes in pop culture
and in slang usage. Learners want to relate to content in a way thats poetic.
The world is ever -changing, and our minds are ever -growing. Social media has
caused even more grammar and spelling mistakes, increased the need for fast
information, and caused learners to write in text language. Teachers now have the
responsibility to place these words, slang, into context and give learners alternative
words to write in essays and tests.
1.4. M aslows Theory of Human Needs
As a prospective teacher, getting learners to belong in a classroom is of utmost
importance. When we look at Maslows hierarchy of needs, theres a five -tier model
of human needs: self -actualization, esteem needs, belongingne ss and love needs,
safety needs and physiological needs. (Hopper, 2019)
We expect learners to reach their potential, but teachers need to meet be aware of
the needs their learners have. Lets take a close look at Maslows five human needs:
SimplyPsych ology ©
Physiological needs are basic human needs, like drinking when thirsty and eating
when hungry. A humans basic needs include regular rest, water, food and warmth.
(Maslow, 1943) It is impossible to advance to higher needs if you are hungry or tired.
Safety needs include wanting surety, safety and assurance. Children react with
anxiety or fear when the needs for safe and predictable environments arent met.
(Maslow, 1943) It is difficult to concentrate if you are worried about your safety. It is
essential to create a safe learning space. (Hanson, 2019)
Love and belonging needs include relationships, both romantic and friendships.
Children have the need to belong in a social group. The need for love and belonging
surrounds feeling loved and feeling love towards someone else. (Maslow, 1943)
Learners need to feel like they belong to a class and that they are accepted.
Esteem needs involves the desire to feel good about ourselves; including
selfconfidence and feeling good about yourself as a first component, and feeling
valued, and that our achievements and contributions are considered valuable and
important as a second component. (Maslow, 1943) Learners n eed to feel like theyre
contributing and that theyre valued. (Hanson, 2019)
Self -actualization is the feeling of feeling fulfilled or feeling that we are living up to our
potential. Self -actualization differs from one person to another person; for one
person, it might involve achievements in the creative field, while for another person it
might mean that we are doing what we feel we are meant to do. (Maslow, 1943) The
analogy of being the best that I can be comes to show in the self -actualization tie r.
This tier involves learners giving back and applying what theyve learnt to the
betterment of society. Peer work, group working, and cognitive activities form part of
this tier. (Hanson, 2019)
A teacher has obligatory roles towards both the learners me ntal and physical state.
Therefore, Id say that teachers need to take into close consideration the above five
tiers of human needs. A teachers role goes much deeper than just educating a
learner; a teachers role is to be of as much assistance to learner s as they can.
Learners need to feel like they are being cared for, protected and secured in schools.
With everything going on in schools nowadays, we need to take into perspective
what we as teachers can and need to do to ensure that learners are able to become
responsible and knowledgeable participants of society.
1.5. Piagets constructivism theory
Piagets constructivism theory (1936) argues that learners need to make connection
inside the classroom. Piaget mentions two components to his constructivism th eory:
accommodation and assimilation. Assimilation causes a learner to incorporate new
experiences into old experiences; this causes individuals to develop new
perspectives, rethink misunderstandings, and evaluate whats important.
Accommodation reframes t he world and new experiences into mental capacity; it
helps learners think independently and cognitively. (Piaget, 1936) The goal is not to
have learners repeat back what weve taught them, but the goal is to have learners
adopt what weve taught them and better the lives of their peers and the larger
Taking into consideration Piagets constructivism theory, its safe to say that a
learning experience only happens once we find a way to build onto old experiences
and enabling a learner to be able to observe their old experiences with new
perspectives. In language, we do this in grammar through constructing sentences at
a basic level and then go through the parts of speech by adding on different
elements until an academic sentence can be structured . We call this theory
scaffolding. Scaffolding is considered an important element in teaching; it reduces
negative emotions and self -perceptions, frustrations, intimidation or discouraged
learners. Scaffolding builds on prior knowledge and has a way of inc luding learners
in their own learning. (Bruner, 1976)
Teachers are being punished for an ever -changing world: technological advances
leading to decreasing attention span, teenage parenthood resulting in increasing
class sizes, constant curricu la changes and longer hours while being enforced to do
more after school activities (Gentry, 2011).
Our goals as teachers need to be to bring as much perspective, experiences,
acceptance, love and care into our classrooms. We are currently faced with a
ge neration that has the highest anxiety and depression rates in history; depression,
anxiety and low self -esteem rates in millennials and generation Z is shocking. We
need to create a classroom where learners feel safe, secure and motivated to be and
do bett er. Lets incorporate a positive approach to education where we draw
attention to individual strengths and personal motivation.
3. REFERENCE LIST
Hanson, J. 2019. Classroom: How to Apply Maslows Hierarchy of Needs to
Education . www.classroom.synonym.com/apply -maslows -hierarchy -needs education –
7771899.html [22 August 2019]
Meador, D. 2019. Personality Traits That Help Teachers and Students Succeed.
www.thoughtco.com/personality -traits -that -help -teachers -students -3194422 [22
Hopper, E. 2019. Maslows Hierarchy of Needs Explained.
www.thoughtco.com/maslows -hierarchy -of -needs -4582571 [23 August 2019]
Kelly, M. 2017. A Teachers Words Can Help or Harm: Educators can impact
students lives with a few innocuous words . www.thoughtco.com/impact -of –
words and -actions -8321 [17 August 2019]
Richard Gentry, J. 2011. A Lack of Parent Engagement Helps Create Failing
Schools: Who is more at fault, teachers or parents?
www.psychologytoday.com/intl/blog/raising -readers -writers -and –
spellers/201107/lack -parent -engagement -helps -create -failing -schools [18 August
Maslow, A. H. 1943. A Theory of Human Motivation. Psychological Review, 50,
McLeod, S. 2018. Simply Psychology: Maslows Hierarchy of Needs .
www.simplypsychology.org/maslow.html [23 August 2019]
Meador, D. 2019. Problems for Teachers That Limit Their Overall Effectiveness.
www.thoughtco.com/problems -for -teachers -that -limit -their -overall –
effectiveness 319467 [17 August 2019]
Piaget, J. 1936. Origins of intelligence in the child. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul.
Tomoh, B. 2018. Life Learners Academy: Effect of slang on student s language and
writing . www.lifelearners.ng/effect -of -slang -on -students -language -and -writing/ [17
We Owe Generation Z an Apology Today. (2018) YouTube video, added by TED x
Talks [Online]. Available at [Accessed
17 August 2019]