Teaching Teenagers It’s all about “THEM”

Facilitator: D. Deubelbeiss http://setiteachers.ning.com http://eflclassroom.com http://teachingrecipes.com

It isn’t easy teaching teenagers! Our students are “digital” learners and must be taught as such. This workshop will present many ideas for helping English language teachers teach teens in their own classrooms.

Part 1:

The Teenage Learner
What are the qualities of the teenage learner? How should we teach so to maximize their learning potential?.

Part 2:

Activities to motivate teens
examples of activities to use in the classroom will be show. These will include power points / slideshows / karaoke players / videos / “chatterbots” / audio books /stories / quizzes / games.

Part 3:

Using video in the classroom
tips on how to properly use video in the classroom will be give. Guidelines for using video will be demonstrated and some examples of the best videos for use in the classroom will be shown. Brainstorm a lesson activity using a popular video.

All the workshop links / instructions can be found through the SETI Teacher’s website. http://setiteachers.ning.com Click – “SEEC” Or see the websites/links in the appendix.

What words would you use to describe the teenaged learner?
Keep notes here!

Teaching teenagers isn't easy because, well, being a teenager isn't easy. Just think back to your adolescence when you were going through all those changes, changes in your body and in your mind: habits and opinions, tastes in clothes and music, relationships with parents and teachers. In Self, Booker Prize winning author Yann Martel writes about growing up as “a new universe where notions such as success and failure, will and sloth, appearance and reality, freedom and responsibility, the public and the private, the moral and the immoral, the mental and the physical, replace the simpler guiding notion of fun.” Of course, it's dangerous and difficult to generalize about adolescence from individual to individual, and from culture to culture; levels of maturity can differ significantly from culture to culture and in individuals within the same culture. But if you have accepted the challenge of teaching teenagers, then you are the teacher of a group of young, impressionable people and will need to try to be flexible and patient with each individual. And you will need to remember that in the classroom, the group dynamic is often as important as pedagogical content and activities will carry benefits other than linguistic content. Below are twelve (because after twelve the teens begin…) things to keep in mind to help you answer the challenge of teaching teenagers in the English classroom.

Twelve Things to Keep in Mind when Teaching Teenagers
 It seems that all teenagers are interested in pop songs, so exploit that interest by bringing music – and the feelings that can be expressed through songs – into the classroom. Teenagers (perhaps especially the current need-to-know generation) like to be seen as cool and up-to-date, so bring in topics of current interest from IT, sport, entertainment and media, and English-speaking cultures that is personally relevant to your learners. Teenagers are discovering (often with difficulty) a different relationship with others and group work allows individuals to interact with different classmates in a less stressful, collaborative atmosphere. Teenagers are starting to define their proper personalities (sometimes it seems they have multiple personalities!) and role-play activities can allow them to try to express different feelings behind non-threatening, face-saving masks. Part of growing up is taking responsibility for one's acts and, in school, for one's learning, so a measure of learner autonomy and individual choice can be helpful for teenagers. It's amazing how some teenagers will have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of a particular field, so let individual students bring their outside interests and knowledge into the classroom through cross-curricular work. Variety – including surprise and humor – is the spice of classroom life (perhaps particularly with teenagers and their infamous short attention span), so try out different warmers, starters and fillers to change the pace and enliven the organization of your lessons.

Teenagers are discovering their (often awkward) bodies so use movement by giving students an opportunity to move around during class. Teaching in secondary school often means teaching multi-level classes, but effective classroom management can help even with very large classes. Use of the mother tongue can not only steer a whole class activity away from misunderstanding, confrontation and potential discipline problems (always a risk with teenagers), but also help avoid pressure on an individual by removing the impression that one person is being tested and put on the spot. Games can provide not only purposeful contexts in which to use language but they also stimulate interaction, provide competition and are fun – as long as rules are clear and clearly followed by all participants. Project work offers each individual a chance to use their individual talent to do something personally meaningful and motivating with the language they are learning – and the resulting posters and other visuals can be displayed around the classroom (just as teenagers decorate their rooms at home).


What do you have to keep in mind when teaching teenagers? Look at Gary Anderson’s suggestions and rank them. Top 6 and Bottom 6 (for your teenagers). Suggest two more. TOP 6 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________ 6. ________________________________ **________________________________ BOTTOM 6 1. ________________________________ 2. ________________________________ 3. ________________________________ 4. ________________________________ 5. ________________________________ 6. ________________________________ ** ________________________________

from: English in Mind





Video in the Classroom Using short videos in the classroom really helps students learn through authentic language and contextualized instruction. However, before showing videos in class, you should be careful. Let’s review some guidelines for using video in the classroom.

Tips for Using Video in the Classroom 1. Keep it short! Attention span drops off after 3-5 min. So if you have a longer video Break it up into short chunks. 2. Turn off the sound! Video, like pictures, is a great prompt for language production (Comprehensible Output). 3. Make it available! Video should be reviewable by the students. Post it up on your on or the school’s website. Don’t have one? Make a wiki! 4. Make your own! Students will produce more language and be much more excited about learning English if you produce your own class videos. 5. Always preview the video beforehand!!!! In it’s entirety. You never know what it surprise might be there.

A) MUSIC – Text to Speech Karaoke in the classroom is great! It is simple to use and students will enjoy the songs and with text to support learning, they will learn pronunciation and phonemic awareness. Let’s see a couple of examples of how you can use it in class with a microphone! ABC – Michael Jackson: Choral group singing. Walking on Sunshine – Last one standing. A great listening game!

News articles – Namdaemun burns. Cloze gap exercise.

Mixtube lyric list / Karaoke in the classroom / Karaoke videos


B) GAMES Students love games and they are an excellent way to review. Even better if students make the games they play in class (put that on their shoulders!). Games can be Arcade online games / powerpoints or quiz generators. 20 questions / Akinator / Guess the Google / Geography / Free Rice BAAM / TOP 5 / The Price is Right / Not like the Other / Transl8it.com Fling the Teacher / Mystudiyo / ESLVideo / Jeopardy


C) Pictures, Visuals and Powerpoints Pictures are so powerful in contextualizing learning and helping students learn language. There are many ways to use picture slideshows or grammar / vocabulary powerpoints in the classroom. Let’s look at a few. PicLits.com / Wordle / Tarheel Reader / English Everywhere / Visual Slideshows

D) Community and Web 2.0 Students these days learn through peer interaction and it is the teacher’s job to nurture and build the right learning environment or community so this can happen. Web 2.0 applications allow teachers to build a community online for their classroom or school. Students can blog, chat, share videos, do assignments, get grades and teacher feedback – all in one place, one Learning Management System (LMS). Teachers can also connect their students online with other classes around the world. Here are some great ways: Ning.com / Wikispaces / Project Peace / Voicethread /


E) Self-study The role of the teacher is changing dramatically. Technology enables students to have access to lots of language, real English. It is the teacher’s job not so much to teach but to provide students with the right environment and access to this content. Here are a few places your students can study in powerful ways and take control of their own learning! Get using the language lab at your school or at least educate your students about all the wonderful ways they can learn online! Talk with Alice / English Tutor / Mingoville / Click ‘N Learn / Voxopop

1. WATCH THE SONG/VIDEO – “Mr. Morton”
- as you watch, write 7 things that Mr. Morton did.

2. How could you take this “engaging” start and make a lesson out of it? (for any level of teenaged learner).

Lessons and Classroom Activities

Look at the subjects below. Chose one and give an example for a classroom. Mark an X over the box. The next in the group chooses another. Let’s share the BEST suggestions!



















Do you think you can be a 21st century teacher?

Recommended Websites for Teaching English
1) http://eflclassroom.ning.com EFL Classroom 2.0 - Lots of resources, games, discussion and tips to use technology in the classroom Make your own school site at http://ning.com ! 2) http://breakingnewsenglish.com - BreakingNewsEnglish - for higher level students or teaching teachers. Articles with exercises and listening 3) http://mes-english.com - MES English - flashcards, worksheets for young learners 4) http://bogglesworldesl.com - Bogglesworld - lesson plans, activities, for young learners and M.S. / H.S. 5) http://setiteachers.ning.com - SETI Teachers - materials for helping to teach the Korean teachers in your school. 6) http://www.de.mingoville.com/content/view/13/29/lang,en/ - Mingoville - online learning suite for young learners. Free, great for practice 7) http://acacia.pntic.mec.es/agip0002/auro/inicio.html Click N Learn - online learning suite for older students. Free. Great practice. 8) http://www.diigo.com/list/eflclassroom - A list of MANY sites, all categorized and saved by fellow English teachers. A treasure chest! 9) http://www.voicethread.com -- Voicethread Create an account, put up a picture and send your students there to practice speaking and to record messages. Really great for oral speaking practice.

10) http://voxopop.com - Voxopop Much like Voicethread but no picture. Only a series of recordings. Ask a question and your students can go there to reply and speak in English. Make your own class group. 11) https://plans.pbworks.com/academic - PB Works Create a free wiki for your class and students to edit and share ideas 12) http://writeboard.com – Writeboard A class writeboard allows all students to work on a class document, add and edit and see the changes. Teacher friendly! 13) http://pageflakes.com – Pageflakes Quickly make a page for your class that updates all the rss feeds you want of all the content around the world wide web that your students need. 14) http://quizlet.com - Quizlet Quizlet allows you to make wordlists which your students can use for practice and also quiz themselves… 15) http://tarheelreader.org – Tar Heel Reader Make books with pictures. The site has a voice which will read them! Also download them as powerpoint and use in class directly! 16) http://eslvideo.com – ESL Video Students or teachers can make quizzes using Youtube videos! 17) http://real-english.com – Real English Watch videos with subtitles, for all levels. Unique and practical.

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