TEACHING TEENAGERS – a challenge worth taking

After having been working as an English teacher for 16 years, I can still remember the first time I stood in front of a group of teenage students. Being a novice teacher it took me some time to understand that teenagers have their own learning styles which differ from those of children and adults. Little learners are so full of energy and they are ready to complete assignments just for your praise and smilies in their notebooks. On the other hand, there are adults who are focused on meeting their language goals. Teens are somewhere in the middle of a scale. I realized long time ago that teachers have to put in a bit more effort in order to increase teenage student motivation. Teenagers can be moody and loud from time to time, but also curious, creative and independent. With this in mind, here are some excellent steps (already tried at our school) that can help capture the attention of our teen students:

  • Build rapport – get to know your students and their interests. Don`t forget to tell them about yours! Small talk is an inevitable part of each and every lesson at our school.  
  • Use competitive games – students work in teams and win points. My favourite competitive games to use with teenagers are taboo games (http://busyteacher.org/13079-taboo-card-game.html ), word association games, riddles, brain teasers (https://en.islcollective.com/resources/search_result?Vocabulary_Focus=Brainteasers)
  • Use multimedia - videos ( http://film-english.com  has hundreds of really great lessons), commercials, visuals, films, songs
  • Be yourself. - show that you are interested in teen culture but DON`T try to be one of them (you are the teacher). Open up. Share. Let them into your life….. a little.  I tell them that I have two kids and that I am a nature, coffee and travel addict. Be what you are and they will appreciate that.
I have taught fantastic and unforgettable groups of teenagers and I can say that it can be great fun to teach them and if you give them a chance teenage groups can be the most rewarding ones. When you see how much progress they have made and how they have grown up, you`ll realize that it was a challenge worth taking.

Teenagers` comments on what makes a good teacher

prepared by: Ljiljana Mitrović ,  English teacher, member of our team

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