Home' Teacher : February 2010 Contents 74 TEACHER JANUARY/FEBRUARY 2010
that is America. What do you get? Boom.
The biggest, boomiest boom ever known
The biggest, boomiest boom took over
the whole generation thing until Charles
Hamblett and Jane Deverson published
Generation X in 1965, although Douglas
Coupland popularised it in his 1991 Gen-
eration X: Tales for an accelerated culture,
and that's where this whole generational
generating thing gets wobbly. People start
identifying generations simply because they
like the idea.
NBC journalist Tom Brokaw, for
instance, did a little retrospective coining,
coming up with the Greatest Generation for
folk who grew up in the Great Depression,
although the fact that he only got the idea
out there in 1998 when he published The
Greatest Generation meant all those folk
living through the 1930s had no idea they
were so great. How did they cope?
Then there's the Silent Generation, for
those who were kids during the Second
World War, but no one knows who coined
the term, probably because they were from
the, um, generation of the same name.
Since Gens X and Y came barrelling
through, though, it's obvious that genera-
tion generating has become too rapid, and
it's fair to say that Hamblett and Deverson
have a lot to answer for. Where do you
go after Gen X, Y and Z? There is a solu-
tion. These things are like car registration
plates so we can just loop back to Gen A,
or maybe Gen AAA001.
Whatever you want to call it, the main
thing to remember is it's just a description,
a category, somebody's label. So as the next
cohort of kids comes through your class-
room door, remember this: whatever label
you put on them, they're people. T
This month's Last Word was writte n
by Ste ve Holden, a putative member of
Generation X, Editor of Te a che r, and the
2008 highly commended winner in the
Best Columnist category of the Mel-
bourne Press Club Quill Awards for the
Hooray. It's time for all those Gen Y
Millennial students, those youngsters born
between 1975 and 1995, to move over. They
are no longer the generation of interest.
There's a new school-age generation com-
ing through and, no, it's not called Gen Z,
because that's just boring. It's called iGen,
but don't worry about reading up on it too
much, because the one after that, iGen 2.0,
is right behind it, with iYour-Brand-Here
coming through fast. Leastways, that's what
the podcasts say.
Time once was that these generation
thingys lasted roughly 20 years -- like the
Nowadays, we're generating generations
at the rate of about one a year. It's a 21st-
century thing, but it's 20th-century folks
who started it. Before that, people just got
born, lived and then died.
Blame Gertrude Stein, who came up with
the Lost Generation to describe anyone who
fought in the First World War. The idea was
that post-war young folk all felt some kind
of moral loss, alienation or aimlessness.
Everyone liked Stein's generation idea so
much they generated the Interbellum Gen-
eration, for all those folks who were born
between the First and Second World Wars.
Ne w York Post columnist Sylvia Porter
did the real damage, though, when she
wrote her famous 'Babies equal boom'
article in 1951: 'Take the 3,548,000 babies
born in 1950. Bundle them into a batch,
bounce them all over the bountiful land
FORGET THE MILLENNIALS.
THE STUDENTS OF THE NEXT
GENERATION ARE HEADING
TO THE DOOR OF YOUR
CLASSROOM. FIND OUT
WHAT THEY'RE CALLED,
IN THE LAST WORD'S
LATEST SCOOP FROM
The last word
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