Supercharging teen learning
Every year we meet hundreds of teenagers, coming to our school to learn English and it struck me a few years ago that where the students are genuinely excited about coming to Ireland, they are not necessarily as excited about the prospect of their lessons. I took that as a personal challenge.
We provide a programme that engages and gets the attention of our young audience who have become my favourite age group to teach after working with adults for many years. There is no end to the potential in a group of young people but the success of the lesson relies on hitting the right note from the first moment!
Building rapport with teenagers is essential for success. A genuine interest from teacher in them and their lives will really improve in class-relations so we choose our tutors carefully! As a teenager, the last thing you want is to be spoken to as a child. You want to be respected and listened to.
Some of our successful techniques include:
It might sound very simple but we take the time to get to know our students and their interests and use them in our planning. Whether it is playing an instrument, a budding artist, a creative mind, a wannabe pop-star/actor or sports person, we get that passion out of them and use it to showcase the individual talent.
Choice and design
We offer our students a choice of activities. At the beginning of the week, teachers and students decide collaboratively what we are going to cover and the reward that will be provided when the work is done! We listen to their preferred type of in-class activities and let the student help to design their syllabus. The results are fantastic!
The element of surprise
Predictability will lose the attention of a teen audience and show our young minds that we are not interested in what they want. Our teachers invent original and unexpected tasks to shake up a class. By changing the order, environment, activity and approach, we see great outcomes.
Challenge – Do not play safe all the time
Most teens are very competitive and will get involved in almost any task if there is a competition element involved. Keeping track of points and setting up a prize system works wonders! Personalising tasks increases motivation and promotes creativity.