Adolescent Learning: Tips for Teaching Teens

Like all students, teenagers often become more interested in a lesson if it applies to their personal lives. Whether you have a classroom of adolescents or one at home, these tips will help you teach teens while keeping them engaged.

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How to Teach Teenagers Effectively

Make It Authentic

Make real-world connections to your lesson so your teen or students can see how learning the skill can help them in their own lives. For instance, rather than assigning a book report on a novel, have your students write a newspaper article reporting what took place in the story. Your students are still analyzing the events, but they are also learning how to write as a journalist. At home, you can encourage your child to do this assignment in addition to her normal schoolwork.

Similarly, when reviewing grammar, place it within context. For instance, give your teen or students a page of text with poor grammar. Ask them to act as editors and correct any mistakes they see in the writing. This way, they are still refining their grammar skills, but in a relevant context.

Use Background Knowledge

Before introducing a new topic, begin by activating background knowledge so that the students can relate the new material to something they're familiar with. For instance, before introducing a complex equation in math, begin the lesson with simpler, more familiar equations that your students can easily solve. Then, explain how the new equation is similar to the simpler ones. This technique can make the new concept seem less intimidating.

Appeal to Their Interests

To increase student motivation and engagement, incorporate your teen's or students' interests into the lesson. For instance, do a character study by having your teen create a Facebook account for one of the characters in the novel he's reading. Alternatively, have your students find music that a character would have on his or her iPod.

Keep It Active

Keep the pace of the classroom active by planning many activities throughout the period. If the students are engaged in activities, then learning will take the place of misbehavior. Even at home, you can keep study sessions active by writing the formulas or vocabulary terms that your child must know on flashcards. Then, review quickly so your teen's focus is entirely on learning the items on the cards.

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