For some teachers teaching teens can be a harrowing ordeal. Teens are sometimes perceived as angry adolescents, rebellious and difficult to motivate and manage. For me it is completely the opposite. I find it very fulfilling teaching teens who as an age group are more insightful, authentic, and self-assertive.
For me the first step when teaching teenagers is to show respect to their needs, their way of thinking and attitude. Once you gain their respect, teaching will be a rewarding experience. Teenagers are great thinkers! I am always amazed by the contributions they make in the various topics we cover. With teenagers you can investigate many challenging topics without searching for definite answers. The secret is teenagers to identify with what they are learning. You have to find a connection with what is going on in their lives at the moment. When you bring in class topics that interest them you have succeeded in holding their attention and ensuring their participation.
Text by: Dimitra Dougekou
As teachers we want students who are emancipated and covering versatile topics does exactly that. Give them a debate and you will witness first-hand how passionate teenagers become. Creative writing is another excellent way to liberate students from traditional learning. Teenagers are emotional and love writing poems or short stories about things that matter to them. As teachers we have to motivate teenagers by making lessons relevant to them.
A game changer is to incorporate Drama in your classes. Educational Drama is a holistic teaching approach with innumerous benefits for both the teacher and the students. Drama is a teaching tool that allows teenagers to participate in everyday situations and act them out. Teenagers are highly expressive and love showing their emotions both verbally and physically. Students thus, practice the English language through communicative activities in real context. Drama frees your imagination and puts winds in your dreams. Students improvise and become confident presenters in a nurturing setting.
By using a creative and imaginative approach such as Drama you win the attention and participation of teenagers, who love to think ‘outside the box’. Students develop empathy as they witness what their fellow classmates share. The ability to view the world from another perspective without judgement is invaluable. Drama is of great importance when we want to build our students emotional intelligence and produce capable communicators of the English language. Furthermore, drama helps to become confident and assertive - traits very important for teenagers who still search for their identity.
As Socrates has said ‘I cannot teach anybody anything. I can only make them think’. What is more important for a teacher than offering her students the opportunity to develop critical thinking and see ideas flourish into drama acts, poems and paintings? Teenagers can do all this and much more. That is why they are my favourite group for teaching. We are not a class of students and a teacher, rather co-travellers in the journey of knowledge.