Getting into the minds of students

Even though the new academic year in the southern hemisphere doesn’t start for another couple of months, I thought it might be a good time to check out the latest Beloit Mindset List.

For those that haven’t heard of the Mindset List, it is an annual publication designed to update university academics as to the cultural and historical “realities” that have shaped the newest intake of university students.

Every year, we seem to complain that students know less and less of history, whereas it is just that we’ve lived through more of it. Thus the list is a reminder to teachers that they cannot take it for granted that students will have knowledge of the same technologies, historical events, sports and movie stars, TV shows, films and music that they do.  For as the list points out, “Carter and Reagan are as distant to them as Truman and Eisenhower were to their parents.”

Most students entering university in the next semester were born in 1991, and for these students:

  • Pan American Airways, Michael Landon, Dr. Seuss, Miles Davis, Gene Roddenberry, and Freddie Mercury have always been dead.
  • They have never used a card catalog to find a book.
  • Margaret Thatcher has always been a former prime minister.
  • Tattoos have always been very chic and highly visible.
  • The KGB has never officially existed.
  • Except for the present incumbent, the President has never inhaled.
  • The European Union has always existed.
  • Christopher Columbus has always been getting a bad rap.
  • Women have always outnumbered men in college.
  • Belarus, Moldova, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Armenia, Latvia, Georgia, Lithuania, and Estonia have always been independent nations.
  • Madonna’s perspective on Sex has always been well documented.
  • Ozzy Osbourne has always been coming back.
  • Someone has always been asking: “Was Iraq worth a war?”
  • There has always been a computer in the Oval Office.
  • Official racial classifications in South Africa have always been outlawed.
  • We have always watched wars, coups, and police arrests unfold on television in real time.

The above is just a small sample taken from the main list that can seen here.


3 Responses

  1. aah perspective

    • The stuff on the list may represent what its been like for the 18 years they’ve been alive but their actual historical knowledge is so much shorter. Next year, I’m sure that I’ll be teaching students who have little concrete recollection of 9/11.

  2. wow, a fascinating list.

    the ‘1991’ call struck home tho….looks like i’m turning into you guys….

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