Published 25th July 2017

Teenagers are different to any other age learner you will encounter. They are opinionated, but shy to voice their ideas; confident, but self-conscious; fun-loving but unenthusiastic. Finding activities that will suit your teens can be hard, especially considering all the teenagers in the class will be very different. So what’s one topic that will interest everyone and encourage them all to speak without making them feel uncomfortable?

Themselves, of course!

A suitable activity for your teen learners

Here is an activity which is suitable for your teen learners which is guaranteed to get them interested and involved in the lesson.

First, show the learners photos of popular celebrities as they are now (in their 30s, 40s or 50s) and when they were teenagers (it shouldn’t be too hard to find these photos online). Get the learners to identify the people. Then ask the learners to find the connections between each pair of photos – each pair is a picture of the same person, taken at different ages.

In pairs, let the learners discuss how the people might be different at those different ages. We’ve chosen celebrities so that there will a lot of obvious things for them to talk about, though they may surprise you with a few interesting ideas.

Then let the learners relate this to their own lives by thinking how they may be different at a certain age. Get general feedback from the class to elicit a discussion of what their future selves will be like.

Ask the learners if they could interview their future selves, what would they ask themselves? In pairs or groups let them brainstorm. Once they have put forward a few ideas, explain that someone has actually done this. Tell them the story of Stony Emshwiller, who video recorded himself at 18 interviewing his future self, and completed the interview when he was 56.

For your own reference, you can read about the incredible story here.

What’s so amazing about this interview is that Emshwiller even recorded himself responding in different ways so that the completed interview is a realistic two-way conversation!

Now you can watch the video of the interview to see the finished project.

Role play interviews

Finally, to end the lesson, the students can use the questions they created earlier and role play interviews with their future selves. This activity can be the basis for a range of grammatical points, such as question forms, past simple vs past continuous or the past simple vs present perfect, just to name a few.

This activity can also be used as the basis for a discussion on a range of different topics: life in the future, regrets, or predictions.