Apr 26, 2016

How to Effectively Teach Generation Z

Generation Z are kids born between the late 1990's and the 2010's.  They are significantly different than any generation before them. 

They are digital natives, having grown up with computers, the internet and fast-moving technology.  They are the ultimate do-it-yourselfers...everything they've ever needed has been at their fingertips.

Because of these factors, it's important to know HOW they learn in order to effectively teach them God's Word. 

Generation Z learns by doing.  This means you should limit lecturing and instead give them opportunities to practice living out the truth.

Here's an example.  Instead of lecturing about prayer for 15 minutes, lecture for 5 minutes and then give the kids 10 minutes to choose between several prayer activities you've set up around the room.

The Bible confirms this in James 1:22 where it tells us to be "doers" of the Word and not just "hearers only."  It is vital to give Generation Z opportunities to learn by doing.  If you use this method, you will see them engage.

Generation Z learns through collaboration.  Though they are do-it-yourselfers, they still seek out collaborative learning.  This means giving kids the opportunity to talk and work together on activities and learning experiences.

Here's an example.  Create a Bible challenge where kids have to work together to find the answer.  Another example would be creating a Bible verse activity where kids have to work together to complete it.

Generation Z learns through hands-on activities.  This is closely tied to doing.  Don't expect them to sit still and be quiet...for very long at least.  Use activities that engage their senses and give them opportunities to move.

Here's an example.  If you're teaching about the walls of Jericho, give the kids Legos to build a wall and then army men to march around the walls before crashing them down. 

Generation Z learns through technology.  As I stated at the beginning of this article, technology is not something Gen Z does...it's who they are.  It's as natural as breathing for them.  Think of ways you can bring technology into your lessons.

Here's an example.  Have your pre-teens use their smartphones to look up and discuss a Bible verse that is part of the lesson.

Generation Z wants to be challenged.  Gen Z wants to be pushed and challenged.  Don't hesitate to challenge them to take up their cross and follow Jesus.  Show them that Jesus wants nothing less than full surrender and commitment to His kingdom.  Now more than ever, they have the opportunity to be salt and light in the world they are growing up in.  Be the echo of Jesus' voice saying, "Come...follow Me."

What does an effective 60 minute class look like for Gen Z based on the above points?
  • 5 minutes of verbal teaching
  • 15 minutes of hands-on activities
  • 10 minutes of collaboration
  • 10 minutes of technology
  • 15 minutes of doing 
  • 5 minutes of being challenged
Take a look at what you are currently doing and the curriculum you are using.  Is it designed for Gen Z?  If not, it may be time for some changes.  At the end of the day, effective engagement is the measuring stick we must evaluate with. 

2 comments:

What curriculum do you recommend to fit these guidelines?

Hi Kathy, that's a great question. We currently write our own curriculum to incorporate elements that engage today's kids. We are hoping to be able to share it with other churches soon. Hands-On by Group publishing is a curriculum that incorporates much of this - it is primarily for a classroom setting and not a large group time.Hope that helps.

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