In 1998, Beloit College created the first Mindset List. The Mindset List is a fun way of capturing the current life experience of college freshman. It helps set the stage to understand the world in which this class of students has grown up. Here is one example from the 2016 Mindset List, “For this generation of entering college students, born in 1994, Kurt Cobain, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Richard Nixon and John Wayne Gacy have always been dead.”

Knowing that your students “have never needed an actual airline ‘ticket'” and that “Pulp Fiction’s meal of a ‘Royale with Cheese’ and an ‘Amos and Andy milkshake’ has little or no resonance with them” may help you avoid references that students don’t understand. Take a few minutes to review the Mindset List for the students in your courses and avoid the blank stares.

This photo, “Hackathon” was taken by Elena Olivo and is copyright (c) 2011 hackNY and made available under a Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 license.

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