Teaching teens English isn’t as scary as it sounds. You just need to know how to motivate teenagers to learn English. It’s certainly challenging, but it’s not impossible.
Many teachers ask themselves how to motivate teenagers to learn English, but motivation is a tricky thing. Motivating someone to do something (even yourself) sounds like it should be easy enough, but when you actually get down to it it’s not as easy as it seems. You can’t force someone to be motivated and it can be difficult to identify exactly what it is that will motivate them.
When it comes to TEFL, motivation is an important consideration for our classrooms. Trying to teach learners who are unmotivated is like pulling teeth; it’s exhausting and painful for both the teacher and the learner. Without motivation, learning is unlikely to take place.
Motivating teenagers adds a whole other level of difficulty to the challenge. Ask most people to describe teenaged learners, and they will say they are moody, sullen, and unenthusiastic, so even thinking of trying to motivate them can give teachers a headache!
But don’t believe the hype. Teenagers are sensitive, insecure, and eager to impress. This means there are numerous ways you will be able to get through to them and maintain their interest in learning English.
- Be real. Don’t pretend to be their friend (you’re the teacher) and don’t pretend to like Drake if you don’t know who that is. Be yourself and they will appreciate that and enjoy getting to know you.
- Get to know them. Finding out about their interests will help you plan lessons which appeal to them rather than bore them to tears.
- Be flashy. Use multimedia in the classroom to keep their attention. Teenagers love putting down the coursebook and doing something different.
- Be positive. A few words of encouragement can go a long way with teenagers; the carrot is much more powerful than the stick.
- Have fun. The classroom is not the place for serious discussions. If your students look forward to your lessons, they will naturally be motivated.
Teenagers can be great fun to teach if they are treated suitably. There’s no need to be scared of them and if you understand their needs and ensure your lessons are appropriate and enjoyable, you will find yourself motivated to be in the classroom, and so will your learners.
Want to know more about teaching teens? Click here.
About the Author
Kirsten is a DELTA-qualified teacher, teacher trainer and materials developer. She has taught in Thailand, China, Spain, the UK and Qatar, but now prefers to call South Africa home. She spends her most of her time drinking tea, blogging and satisfying her sweet tooth.
With schools around the world, Shane English School always has exciting new opportunities to offer.