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Who are these people?

Kids are kids.

In fact, never in the history of the human race has this been less true. These days, kids are more different from the previous generation of kids than any generation since time began. And we need to get our heads around that.

Last week, I wrote about our mistakes in responding to a worsening student behaviour landscape in Australian schools. This week, I’d like to talk about stepping forward by knowing who our students really are.

I’ve been reading (well, listening on Audible) to an incredible book by Tim Urban called “What’s Our Problem?”. Urban points out that if the history of mankind were a 1000-page book, there’d be not much to read in the first 990 pages. Things have stayed mostly the same for most of our time on this planet.

But the book’s last two pages or so would be a wild old read.

So much has changed in terms of diet, technology and social structure in the last hundred years or so, a sliver of our entire history, that we’re now creating an almost different breed of kid.

Kids today are:

  1. Accessing information (often false and heavily curated by social media algorithms) that is reshaping their values and beliefs.
  2. Growing in an increasingly anxious community.
  3. Increasingly neurodiverse.

Once we know what we’re up against, we should design for that challenge, not for the one decades ago.

Of course, the final truth about our kids is that they’re learning under the tutelage of increasingly overwhelmed and distracted educators. That’s important too.

In next week’s Home Truth, I’ll discuss the design we need to meet this challenge head-on.

Keep fighting that good fight,


PS. Are you seeking effective strategies to tackle school culture challenges in your school? I’m hosting two workshops, “Restorative Classrooms, Strong Classrooms” and “The Art of School Culture Leadership”, across Australia. With limited places available, click here to register. I kick off in Adelaide next week, and I hope to see some of you there!



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