In 1998, a group of professors at Beloit College in Wisconsin created a list of experiences that the incoming freshmen class had always had in their lives that their professors may or may not have known about.
The idea, first thought up by Dr. Ron Nief, was to provide a way for professors to understand the “mindset” of their students. Thus, the first Beloit College Mindset List for incoming freshmen was created.
Since that time, the Beloit Mindset list has been used across the country and world to foster discussions in education about where our students are “at” mentally, and to remind teachers that their experiences are not necessarily those of their students.
The list usually has between 50 and 100 items that are used to give the insights as to where the freshmen are and to remind the older teachers that their life experiences are not the same as the ones they teach.
A teacher making a cultural reference to “Smokey and the Bandit” or how to dial a phone would get blank stares from this incoming class.
The Beloit Mindset List is for students, born in the year 2000, entering this year in college as freshmen, to graduate in 2022 highlights:
- Iconic figures never alive in their lifetime include Victor Borge, Charles Schulz, and the original Obi-Wan Kenobi Alec Guinness.
- Outer space has never been without human habitation.
- They have always been able to refer to Wikipedia.
- They have grown up afraid that a shooting could happen at their school, too.
- People loudly conversing with themselves in public are no longer thought to be talking to imaginary friends.
- Afghanistan has always been the frustrating quagmire that keeps on giving.
- Investigative specials examining the O.J. Simpson case have been on TV annually since their birth.
- They’ve grown up with stories about where their grandparents were on 11/22/63 and where their parents were on 9/11.
- They never used a spit bowl in a dentist’s office.
- They have never seen a cross-town World Series.
- “You’ve got mail” would sound as ancient to them as “number, please” would have sounded to their parents.
- Mifepristone or RU-486, commonly called the “abortion pill,” has always been available in the U.S.
- A visit to a bank has been a rare event.
- The words veritas and horizon have always been joined together to form Verizon.
- Robert Downey Jr. has always been the sober Iron Man.
- Mass market books have always been available exclusively as Ebooks.
- There have always been more than a billion people in India.
- Donny and Marie who?
- They never tasted Pepsi Twist in the U.S.
- Films have always been distributed on the Internet.
- King Friday the 13th and Lady Elaine Fairchild have always dwelled in the Neighborhood, but only in re-runs.
Feeling old yet? Check out the entire Class of 2022 list online.
This year’s Mindset list will be the last one produced by Beloit College, but you can probably find it next year at themindsetlist.com.
This list is great for grandparents talking to grandkids, teachers talking to students, employers talking to employees.
Author: Tim Holt is an educator and writer, with over 33 years experience in education and opines on education-related topics here and on his own award-winning blog: HoltThink. He values your feedback.
Feel free to leave a comment. Read his previous columns here.