Spilling Beans About the Teens

Teaching teenagers - for teachers; How to balance school and extracurricular activities - for students; Personal Experience - Andrey Kravtsov.

TEACHING TEENAGERS

Small children are full of natural curiosity and eagerness to explore the world around them and learn. They are brimming with energy which teachers can easily use to their advantage. Adults have great cognitive abilities and can easily grasp abstract concepts. They also usually know what they want and need little outside motivation to keep them going. But when it comes to in-betweeners - teenagers and mid-schoolers - teachers often find themselves at a loss for how to approach them. They often lack enthusiasm, motivation, and determination, they question authority and want to fight you at every turn. In reality, they are not that bad. Here are some tips on how to teach these not-yet-adults.

Encourage discussion

Teenagers are often highly opinionated, they form their strong beliefs on almost any topic and they try to avoid looking ignorant. Include questions for discussion into every lesson - give them chances to share their views with each other, but do not let yourself judge or look down on them. Treat their ideas with respect and ask questions - and you will find it hard to get them to stop.

Encourage questions

Mid-schoolers are still exploring the world and haven’t yet lost their childhood curiosity. They need an outlet for the questions they have, so it is best if you allow questions at any time and take time to answer and explain. This way you will show them that ignorance is not a sin, but indifference is!

Instant gratification

The new generations were born with a smartphone and are used to getting quick gratification for their actions. They share and get likes, comments and emojis, so celebrate their small victories. But remember to be genuine and give praise when they actually deserve it, teenagers hate fakeness.

Use references

If you truly want to win this audience over you will have to engross yourself in the pop-culture. Get to know what music they listen to, what celebrities they idolize, and who they follow on Instagram. Using this knowledge to give examples, to create special lesson materials, and to drop a reference is a sure way to get them to love you.

Be flexible

Teenagers are often subject to mood swings and attention lapses, so teachers need to prepare for different possible outcomes in class. Have a few backup activities up your sleeve and use them if you feel the audience is slipping from you.

Encourage discovery

Teenagers will value most things that they discover themselves. By using an inductive approach to grammar and a task-based approach to vocabulary you will let them come to their own conclusions, with your guidance of course, and they will never forget your lessons.

Use technology

Once more, modern teenagers are used to having gadgets around and they spend almost all of their free time online. Use youtube, Instagram, apps, blogs, and video games for your lessons. For example, you can screenshot Instagram posts for short reading or give your class a project work where they have to write a post, publish a video in English, send each other voice messages or create a website. This will help you hold their attention and boost motivation.

Teenagers can be a controversial lot, but once you get their respect and love you won’t be able to find a more appreciative audience.


HOW TO BALANCE SCHOOL AND EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES


Wake. School. Practice. Study. Sleep. Repeat.

This is a standard schedule for most students. With little time left over for friends, family, and fun.

Demands of everyday life, part-time jobs, and social functions further add to an over-packed schedule. Fifty-seven percent of students also have at least one extracurricular activity they participate in. It can be a struggle to juggle all these academic and social responsibilities.

It’s important to learn developmental skills that you’ll use for the rest of your life. Read on for tips on finding the right balance between school work and extracurricular activities.

Set a Schedule and Stick with It

Humans thrive on consistency, as our brains get hardwired to complete goals based on our own routine. The easiest way to balance school with extra activities is to set a schedule and stick with it.

Fill in all your important school activities first, then extracurricular responsibilities. Set aside a chunk of time each day for homework and studying. Don’t forget to include time on weekends for friends and family.

Buy a planner or use your calendar app to organize deadlines, appointments, and assignments. This helps to set priorities and learn time management skills.

Categorize by daily and weekly activities and separate short and long-term goals. Keep a running to-do list, crossing off as you go. Use post-its or the sticky notes app to stay organized.

School work should always come first, before other activities. Remember your GPA and test scores will predict your college choices and career path. Use this time to strengthen your grades and build your own personal brand.

A packed schedule should not mean you have to sacrifice sleep, meals, or time with family and friends. Once you fall into a routine, you’ll find that you can be a bit more flexible with free time.

Give Yourself Time to Relax and Recharge

It’s important to take time for yourself to avoid getting burned out. Remember that the more you get done during the week, the more free time you have on the weekends.

Work hard then take needed breaks to let your mind and body recharge. It’s also important to set little mid-day breaks to keep productivity levels from plummeting.

Unwind at the end of each day by doing something you enjoy. Read a book, watch a movie with friends, or go for a run listening to your favorite playlist. Use exercise for personal wellness and to help battle stress.

Sixty-nine percent of female students say an overpacked school schedule keeps them from joining sports clubs. Yet, physical fitness and team involvement is a great reason to play a sport. Or spend time on the weekends hiking or kayaking with family and friends.

Be sure to reward yourself for meeting goals. Head to the mall with a friend or go out to dinner with your family.

Make the Most of Your Free Time

Understand that some weeks may get packed full, with very little free time. So, it’s important to take advantage of the time you do get.

Use a free period or study hall to catch up on homework assignments. Time spent studying at school frees up extra time at the end of the day. Try to schedule your study halls periods for times when you are most productive, such as the morning.

Break for lunch and spend it catching up with friends. When traveling for sporting events, use the time on the bus to socialize with teammates.

Use free time after school to study and apply for scholarships. Take time during family dinners to discuss future goals and plans.

Use breaks and holidays to plan something fun and memorable. This is a great time to recharges your batteries. Complete any time-sensitive or important tasks then spend the rest of the break enjoying yourself.

You may want to consider joining a networking group. They often have member trips and events where you can meet other students with the same goals. You also get to travel around the country and build a personal network of peers.

Limit Distractions and Stay Focused

Technology can be both a blessing and a curse when it comes to trying to stay focused. When studying or completing assignments, put your phone in another room so you’re not tempted to text. Save social media for after your tasks get completed.

Pick the right location for study time. A family room with loud siblings or the television on is not conducive to learning. You want to limit distractions and find peace and quiet elsewhere if needed.

It helps to change the scenery to stay focused. Spend some time in your bedroom then head to the library. Study in the park if it’s a nice day or sit at a local coffee shop.

Save time with friends for after you’ve completed assignments. Or get involved in a study group to keep each other motivated.

Don’t Be Afraid to Ask for Help

Anytime you feel overwhelmed, seek guidance. It’s okay to ask for help and communicate feelings of stress.

Know your mentors and ask them for advice when needed. A mentor can be a parent, coach, or your favorite teacher. They will have ideas on how to better balance school activities and your social life.

Get a study partner or tutor if you feel your grades are slipping. It’s best to be proactive and seek help from another classmate or teacher.

If you’re feeling extreme stress, you may want to slim down your list of clubs and organizations. Go for quality activities that you have a strong passion for.

Admissions teams want to see interest and involvement, rather than a long list of endless activities. It’s better to be selective in how you spend your time and energy. You will also strengthen your talents if you dedicate more time to one or two activities.

The Art of Multi-Tasking Your Extracurricular Activities

With time you will notice your multi-tasking and time management skills will strengthen. You’ll find a good balance between school work and extracurricular activities.

These are the keys to success that will prepare you for higher education and your career. There are also many organizations that offer extra support and resources for young minds. 

Full article here.


PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

Hello! My name is Andrew, and I am an English and Spanish teacher. In my teen years my family and I moved to South America, and I was sent to a local school. At first, the experience was tremendously hard, as I did not know any language besides Russian, but when I started to learn more about my peers and their culture and began to assimilate – it was a sudden push to success. 

Now, in my classes, culture studies are crucial, especially for teenagers, who have a very framed mindset and world image. The appliance of speaking patterns into situations when culture studies are required make the task twice as hard, but at the same time twice as interesting. Teenagers are the one generation that is just beginning to seek knowledge about others, although most of them are afraid, and because of that some indifference may emerge. 

The role of the tutor here is to show that there are still universal values and interests: the same now popular Genshin Impact is played all around the world! 

The perfect scenario, in my opinion, would be finding a pen-pal for your student for them to practice outside the studying environment, but if there is no such opportunity, the tricks that I use are the following: firstly, I assign an imaginary pen-pal to my student, making part of the task that the letter or the essay is not going to be read by me, but by the teenage peer – that makes the task more interesting and challenging. 

Secondly, I highly recommend to all teachers and tutors to choose additional student’s books that focus entirely on culture with specifically designed tasks and projects. In addition to that, using videos is of high importance here, where people show their places, cities and share experience on the language level of the student. Such tasks give the student understanding of the environment to expect when it’s time to apply their knowledge to practice. The ones that I like myself are supplementary materials for Headway books for English classes. 

One of the biggest problems for me is to hold the attention of a student in their puberty, and such focus on the culture and cultural features make them pay all the attention to some new information. That’s the time when incorporation of new lexical units and grammatical patterns is highly useful. 

Another important point is the usage of storytelling throughout the entire culture class to enhance the eagerness to learn. Creativity, in my opinion, is the key to a successful class! 


That’s all for now!
Stay amazing ♡