The Bridge with Teens

What makes teenateensgers the group of learners in the ELT world with the worst image? What do teenagers expect from us, teachers? How can we make our teenagers more engaged in the lesson?

These questions can be answered with the book ‘Teenagers’ by Gordon Lewis. The book describes the features of adolescence of young teenagers (12-14) and middle teenagers (14-17); how they think, what matters for them and what they expect from the English Classroom. For example, the most important thing for young teenagers is themselves and middle teenagers learn that there is not only one answer to every question.

A few things to think about when teaching teenagers:
1. The things that can make teenagers difficult are often the very same attributes that can make working with them so enriching.
2. The teacher’s attitude towards the teenager is the key to success for a good relationship between them.
3. Students at this age always have an opinion on a matter, provided the subject is of direct relevance to their lives.
4. Simply introducing English through popular teen culture will not sustain motivation. To be successful with teenagers, we need to dig deeper and discuss topics that require rational thinking and engagement.

It is by making lessons purposeful and immediately relevant for teenagers that we will make them more engaged and more motivated. We need to listen to them, find out what they want, what they expect, what they are looking for. It is the teacher-student relationship the key to building the bridge with teenagers.

Book: Teenagers
Author: Gordon Lewis
Published by Oxford University Press

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