Published 24th January 2018

Some teachers enjoy teaching Young Learners, some like teaching adults, but there are not many out there who would readily admit to being keen on teaching teenage learners. And for many reasons. Teenagers are at an awkward stage in their lives and are susceptible to peer pressure, which means they may not be as open and communicative in the classroom as we would like them to be; their attention spans are remarkably short, so you always have to make sure your lessons are engaging, interesting and relevant; and they are not shy to show their frustration at the learning process, which they have probably been going through for a few years.

But if you find yourself in the classroom with a group of teenagers, you might be surprised to find out your classes are not all hormones and attitude. Teens have their own characteristics that make teaching them challenging but rewarding.

Not convinced? Ok, here are three ways teaching teenagers may surprise you:

They probably know more than you think

Many teenagers have been learning English for many years and have a pretty decent level of English. What also helps them is their interest in popular culture. Sometimes they will need to read about their favourite celebrities online in English, or they would rather watch the latest series or movies in English than the dubbed version. A lot of times communication on social media is done in English as well.

And we’re not only talking about their English level either. Teenagers have an amazing capacity for information and they are at a very curious stage of their lives, so they will soak up any and all information about the world around them that they can. If you do a general knowledge quiz with your class you might be impressed by how much they know, so you can count on them to contribute to the lessons with knowledge and information.

They love to have fun

Most of the time, teenagers are not interested in their lessons because they are boring, too challenging or not challenging enough. Once you have established the true level of your learners and you get to know their personalities and learning styles, you can plan games and activities which will amuse and entertain them while teaching them language at the same time.

You can always trust your teenage learners to appreciate your sense of humour, too. They will love to hear your stories and jokes and if they feel comfortable enough they will be happy to share their own anecdotes with the class.

 They can work hard

Teenagers can be dedicated learners if they choose to be. As long as there is interest and motivation, teenagers are happy to tackle any challenge you set them.  Do your homework and make sure you are planning lessons which your learners will enjoy and which they will find suitably demanding and your students are sure to live up to the challenge.

Now that you think about it, teens aren’t so bad after all, are they?