Exploring the Generational Gap between Students and Lecturers

In today’s society, whenever one  brings up the topic of the generational gap between the youth and the older generation, they would probably get a funny look or two, getting asked:

‘Oh, like gap moe?’ or ‘why are you bringing  up  maths’. Both generations never really understood each other, and this has led  to negative effects rippling across the community. Thus, both must take steps to slowly reconcile and take efforts to bridge this generational gap, which can be first done by understanding what a generational gap truly is. Without further ado, let us delve into what the generational gap truly represents, and how it can affect us students too!


The generational gap between the young and the old can be more simply summarised as the conflicting perspectives and viewpoints between different generations. Imagine if you will, an old man arguing with his grandson about technology. The latter has experienced and lived in its rise since their birth, while the former may have gone years of their life doing without technology such as mobile phones or the Internet. The human ego is a fragile matter. Both parties may feel or strongly think that they are smarter or better than the other, leading to the need to ‘educate’ the other side, believing that they need to have the same thinking as theirs. The old man may lecture the grandson about how life was better without recent technology, while the younger grandson, having been born in the modern era, will of course take this with a pinch of salt and assume it as the raving rants of a senile. Why would they listen? They know the benefits that technology brings to them, and how it makes life so much easier.

 This has been one of the largest issues regarding the generational gap: the refusal of acceptance between different generations.

Now, we take a look at schools and universities. Some would think that, based on their unhappy memories of high school, that students might have a bad relationship with teachers. After all, who could forget their first scolding or reprimand/spanking, especially when some have been coddled by their parents their entire lives? 

Nowadays, despite what those few people say, one can enter a college classroom and easily find students comfortably socialising with teachers, making light banter or even joking about with the lecturers they are closer with. Under usual circumstances, if a middle-aged man suddenly talked to a kid they had never met before, it would be strange and uncomfortable. But with the right conditions, it becomes the norm for all and something that no one would come across as unusual. 

Perspectives and viewpoints from both generations are seen and respected, and problems along with solutions are both solved and innovated with equal regard from both generations. Communities should take note of this example, and strive to resolve the ongoing generational gap issues rampant throughout the world.  However, we must also realise that lecturers and students do still inevitably face conflict, especially when faced with conflicting ideas or thoughts, especially on concepts such as  teaching styles and learning preferences. This can create a sense of disharmony and distrust among both generations, as both parties feel as though the other is not capable of or unwilling to follow their methods of teaching or learning. In some cases, this can even develop to be a bigger problem than expected, with students disobeying lecturers or even lecturers eventually not caring about their students anymore. 


Now with that in mind, you might be curious, how can the issue of the age gap between two parties, specifically between lecturers and students be solved? Solving this issue requires both parties’ efforts as building a relationship with another is a give and take situation after all. The first step when coming to a solution for this issue is that both parties must be open minded and accepting of one another. Both parties should be able to express their own personal opinion or thought about a subject with little to no bias.

Having an open mind to learning new things allows both parties to come to an impasse to any conflict of their ideas in the easiest manner and allows for both parties to come to a solution that they are both happy with.

On top of having an open mind, another important concept that is crucial for harmony between both age groups is communication. Many people take for granted just how much good communication can impact another person. Due to the fact that the older generation does not understand the younger generation slang, it is important that when communicating, both parties should use proper English,  as well as common terms when communicating to ensure one party is not frustrated with the other – when in the process of discussing a topic or making conversation. Sometimes, lecturers may find it hard to understand a student’s question due to the lack of proper communication from the student. 

Lastly and most significantly, both parties must set aside their egos. Primarily older lecturers. You may notice that older lecturers tend to ask for feedback a lot less, if not, not at all from their students compared to a younger lecturer. This is because older lecturers tend to believe that due to the fact they’ve lived longer,  they know a whole lot more and believe their knowledge is absolute. As a result, they tend to block out any thoughts or opinions that may be brought up by a student. To resolve this issue, it is crucial for lecturers to set aside their ego and understand that in some cases, the student may have a point  and should at least hear out what the student has to say before coming to a conclusion. The same applies to students. Having little to no ego allows students to be able to absorb more and understand lecturers better. Ego is every human’s biggest roadblock to forming meaningful relationships and therefore should be put a lid on to create harmony amongst the different age groups.

In a nutshell, the generational age gap between students and lecturers has been an issue and will continue to be an issue for as long as time endures. Having this issue indefinitely affects both parties when it comes to learning, especially the student. However, if both parties understand that each has something to learn from the other, we can minimise and hopefully eliminate the conflict between student and lecturer all together,with an aim to create an environment where this generational age gap does not become a hindrance between lecturer and student, thus improving the learning environment.

Written by: JY, Chung Wei

Edited by: Poorani

Recommended Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *