You've heard of "Generation Z"; you've heard of the "Millenials"...Well, the new term to describe these alternately ambitious and lazy up-and-comers (or not) is the "Janus Generation"...or so argues Jerry Pattengale in Inside Higher Ed. The article begins with a pair of anecdotes:
"Students today are so industrious!" My colleague blurted this after learning students had replaced labels on their water bottles with exact replicas — but with the test answers typed in the ingredients section.
However, another colleague disagreed with any positive attribute for today’s students. She recently summoned a failing Comp 101 student to inquire about his surprisingly excellent final paper. After he repeatedly claimed to have written "every word," she replied, "Then I have just one final question. Young man, exactly when did you have your abortion?" She concluded, "Students today are lazy. For 40 years I’ve caught students copying papers — but at least they had read them first!"
Some further snippets:
Student characteristics that appear as "laziness" to some are categorized as "technologically preoccupied" to others. "Entertainment" for one professor is labeled "sophistication" by another.
The Janus Generation faced another reality, the coming and going of troops. The two faces of the god Janus had appeared on opposite sides of Rome’s War Gates (or, the Gates of Janus, the god of doorways and beginnings, the namesake of January). Emperors bragged if these gates were shut (time of peace) and not open (time of sending to battle as Janus watched in both directions).
Janus was also known as the god of doorways and beginnings, and our students need these. From Kohn’s 1993 warning through Jossey-Bass’s recent release, Helping Sophomores Succeed, the key is helping them to find their life calling and sense of purpose. Whether we see the face of laziness or sophistication, nearly all major studies show a student core interested in spirituality and purpose. I have come to conclude that "the dream needs to be stronger than the struggle," and when students commit to causes they deem worthy they are more likely to succeed.
[Thanks to JMM at Classics-L]