Cool Conversation Topics for Teenagers
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As a teacher teaching English as a Foreign Language, you never know who you might be teaching. It could be children as young as four or mature learners as young as 65. If you have done a TEFL course you will know it is aimed at teaching English as a Foreign Language to adults but you will probably find yourself teaching learners of different ages throughout your career. Today we are taking a look at some conversation topics for teenagers.
Conversation Topics for Teenagers
Indeed, many TEFL teachers start out teaching English to Young Learners, possibly because of the mistaken belief that teaching children is easier than teaching adults – spoiler alert: it isn’t! This also may be because many TEFL teachers look for jobs teaching English abroad, usually in a kindergarten, primary or high school. If this sounds like something you will do, then you need to be prepared to teach pre-schoolers, primary school learners and the dreaded high school learners.
Teenagers have quite a reputation in the classroom, and not only in the English as a Foreign Language classroom. Teenagers are notorious for either being loud and unruly or sullen and non-communicative; no matter what they do they have a bad reputation as students. In the classroom the attitudes of teenagers can translate into refusing to speak English during your lessons, chatting to their friends during activities, and generally not being interested in your lesson.
Of course, there are many factors which contribute to their behaviour in class – peer pressure, identity issues, social awkwardness – but many times if you are able to connect with them they can be the best students you’ve ever had the pleasure of teaching. And we’re not even kidding!
Because teenagers are going through a challenging time of their lives both physically and emotionally, it is essential that we understand our teen learners in order to be able to understand them, connect with them and, ultimately, teach them. Once we know our learners we can identify appropriate and relevant language topics and lesson ideas which will get the best results for everyone. This means planning relevant lessons.
Read more: Top Tips for Effective Lesson Planning
The first thing you need in order to be able to do this is to identify good topics for your lessons. If you centre your lessons around themes and topics which interest your students, they will be genuinely interested in the lesson and actively participate in the lesson activities. To be sure which topics are relevant for your class you will need to do a needs analysis and get to know them on a personal level.
A needs analysis is important for any class you have but with teens it should be tweaked to be sure to include reference to their personalities, interests, and free time activities. A needs analysis will inform you of the level of your students and therefore what language is suitable for them to learn, as well as which activities they would enjoy doing in class, and ways you can make your lessons more engaging for them.
One important factor to consider is the topics of your lessons. There is no quicker way to make your students UNinterested in your lesson than by incorporating outdated or irrelevant people or themes in your lesson activities. However, there are a few topics which are guaranteed to have your students chatting in no time:
Teenagers are at a very exciting time in their lives. They will finish school soon and join the big, wide world of independent living. Though they may be a bit anxious about the future, they should also be enthusiastic and excited. This can translate into passion and energy in the classroom. Tune into these feelings by speaking about the future on an individual level or a more global level. Activities can include making predictions about the future, finding out about jobs they may be interested in, and making time capsules to represent their generation.
Be careful of not imposing your views on your students and rather encouraging their creativity and freedom of expression. If an idea is outlandish or improbable, your EFL lesson is not the time to focus on that. Your lesson is a time for your students to feel comfortable enough to express their ideas and opinions without fear of judgement or embarrassment.
It’s no revelation that even our youngest students these days are exposed to technology and incorporate technology into their everyday lives. Though traditional teachers may try to limit the use of technology in the classroom, there is no reason not to take advantage of their knowledge of and interest in the subject as a discussion point. You can have a debate on the use of smartphones in the classroom, discuss the future role of technology in the workplace, and do research webquests.
While generally we might frown on our students using their mobile phones, tablets or laptops in the classroom, this can be an opportunity for our students to use their technology for English projects. Asking them to do research online is exposing them to English everywhere they look. Even asking them to put together a Powerpoint presentation in pairs or groups will mean they will need to discuss and execute the project in English, which will actually end up being a very authentic exercise.
Teenagers are usually caught up in a whirlwind of relationships, so talking about them is a natural option. Bear in mind you don’t have to discuss only romantic relationships; friendships and family are also relevant. In class you can talk about the order of relationships in different cultures, give advice for problematic relationships agony aunt-style, and do an unromantic version of speed-dating. If you have a very good relationship with your students and find they are very open-minded and communicative, you can even touch on more controversial practices like arranged marriages or dating shows on reality TV.
Of course, we shouldn’t have to say it but we will, please make sure you are not dealing with a topic that is inappropriate in any way for your students. They are at a sensitive and impressionable age and it is your responsibility to ensure they never feel uncomfortable in your class. You need to be especially aware of cultural issues of wherever you may be.
Teaching teenagers can be challenging but don’t be put off if you find yourself faced with a class of unimpressed teens. Think carefully about what interests them – both in terms of topics and activities – and make sure you consider your lesson plan carefully. If you put in the work to build a relationship with your students and take time to plan lessons that will really resonate with them, you could find yourself having the time of your life in the classroom.
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LAST UPDATED: 27th August 2021
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Processing you think is unlawful
- If you tell us that you think we are processing your personal information unlawfully, but you do not want the information to be erased, you have the right to require us to restrict the processing of that information.
- We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the processing is unlawful, and may also ask that you provide evidence to support this view.
Processing of personal information you think is inaccurate
- You can tell us if you think the personal information we are processing about you is factually inaccurate. You can require us to restrict how we use your personal information until we can verify the accuracy of the information. We will ask you for an explanation about why you think the information is inaccurate, and may also ask that you provide some supporting evidence of the alleged inaccuracy.
- If we find that the personal information we are processing about you is inaccurate, we will take appropriate steps to correct the information.
Personal information is no longer needed by Everything TEFL Ltd but needed by you in connection with a legal claim
- In most circumstances, we will securely delete or dispose of personal information when we no longer need it for our legitimate business purposes. Our approach to retention is outlined in our corporate retention schedules.
- However, if the personal information we no longer need would assist you in establishing, exercising or defending a legal claim, you can require us to keep the information for as long as necessary. We may ask you to provide an explanation and any available supporting evidence that a legal claim is ongoing or contemplated.
Right to erasure of personal data (“the right to be forgotten”)
In the following circumstances, you have the right to require that Everything TEFL Ltd securely deletes or destroys your personal information:
- If the personal information we hold about you is no longer necessary for the purposes for which we originally collected it.
- The processing is based on consent – if you have previously given your consent to Everything TEFL Ltd collecting and processing your personal information, and you notify us that you withdraw your consent. Please note: withdrawing your consent does not mean the processing of your personal data which occurred before the withdrawal was unlawful.
- We are processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes, and you want us to stop.
- If you think Everything TEFL Ltd has processed your personal information unlawfully.
If you think any of the above situations apply, we may ask you for an explanation and further information to verify this.
Right to object to processing
You have the right to object to the Everything TEFL Ltd processing your personal data in the following circumstances:
Personal information used for direct marketing
If we are using your personal information to send you direct marketing, you have the right to object at any time. If you exercise this right, we will stop processing your personal information for direct marketing purposes. However, we may keep your information on a “suppression list” to ensure your information is not added to any marketing lists at some point in the future.
Automated decision making and profiling
- ‘Profiling’ is the automated use of personal data held on a computer to analyse or predict things that have a legal effect, or other similarly significant effects, on the individual. Examples would include economic situation, health, personal preferences or interests and location. You have the right not to be subject to a solely automated decision (that is, a decision made electronically, with no human intervention), and this may include profiling (although there is no general right to object to profiling). If you are concerned the Everything TEFL Ltd has made a solely automated decision about you, you can object.
- Please note, Everything TEFL Ltd is allowed to carry out automated decisions with no human intervention where you have given your explicit consent to this processing (although you have the right to withdraw your consent).
- We are also permitted to make automated decisions with no human intervention in the following circumstances:
- The automated decision is necessary to enter into, or perform a contract, or complete a contract involving you and the Everything TEFL Ltd.
- The automated decision is allowed under a law passed at the European Union level, or at the level of the European Union or EEA member state level (i.e., is allowed under national law). The law will provide safeguards to protect your rights and freedoms.
However, you still have a general right to object in both of the above circumstances, providing reasons why you think the processing is having a negative effect on you. If you do object, we will carefully consider your reasons, and decide whether to review the decision-making process in your specific case.
Right to data portability
- If you have provided your information to Everything TEFL Ltd, you have the right to request and receive a copy of that information in a structured, commonly used and machine-readable format.
- You also have the right to ask us to send the information we hold about you to another organisation.
- There are some situations in which the right to data portability does not apply. For further information, please contact us.
Exercising your rights concerning the processing of your personal information
If you wish to exercise any of the above rights concerning the way in which we process your personal information, please contact:
Risk Management Team
Everything TEFL Ltd
28 – 32 Pembroke Street,
Republic of Ireland
Telephone: +353 (1) 554 6227
Your right to complain to a national data protection regulator (data protection supervisory authority)
- If you think we have processed your personal information unfairly or unlawfully, or we have not complied with your rights under GDPR, you have the right to complain to a national data protection regulator.
- Complaints about how we process your personal information can be considered by the data protection regulator.