The Five Generation School?

A profound but mostly unrecognized demographic and economic trend is unfolding around the world says Dominic Endicott & Johns Sviokla in the Summer 2019 edition of Strategy + Business.

They note that an impact of increased average lifespan is that, for the first time in recorded history, four generations can routinely expect to be alive at the same time!


The longevity revolution, they state, is putting massive strains on all social systems- employment, retirement, healthcare, housing, transportation, and food as well as the environment and has significant implications for education.

It’s entirely possible right now for up to 5 generation to be represented in an education institution.  In fact here is a story of a 100 year-old woman from Massachusetts finally securing her high school diploma!…the number of generations co-existing could be 5!

Let’s imagine, if currently a school/ institution leader were in their 70’s (Boomer), staff could well be in their 40’s-50’s (Gen X) with early career teachers in their 20’s-30s (Gen Y) possibly supervising final year teaching graduates from Gen Z all of whom are now potentially teaching the Alpha generation .

The eldest members of this generation started kindergarten a couple of years ago but in 2050 (when they turn 40) the Generation Alpha population is predicted to reach 35 million. When all the members of this generation have been born, they will number almost two billion.


One of the most challenging aspects of managing multiple generations in the workplace is getting each group to respect the unique talents of the other says Janice Robinson-Celeste, contributor for Huffington Post

Advice offered includes:
Creating Teams of Multigenerational Employees Can Help
  • Help each generation to understand each other and to work more effectively together. Host an initial training on each generational style and characteristics.
  • Create effective multigenerational teams by publicly identifying each person’s skills in the group. i.e., “Richard has years of experience in graphic design which may benefit your group’s presentation.”
  • Develop clear goals and expectations for each team.
  • Hold every member accountable for their individual group participation, i.e., “What role did you play in this project?”
  • Offer ongoing formal feedback to modify behavior and performance. Meet with each team individually to monitor their success and challenges.



p.s. Interested in Social and Emotional Learning in Education? Join my open moderated Facebook Group here


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