Apr 29, 2010

Motivating Teenagers

Many teenagers will have had several years of contact with learning English before they start high school. These experiences may not always have been successful or enjoyable. Consequently, students may bring to the classroom preconceived ideas about whether learning English is fun or not, and whether they are "good" at languages or not. If their experience of learning English has not been positive, their level of interest and motivation may be low.

On the other hand, their previous experience of learning English may have been a positive one, in which case their level of motivation when they join the class may be quite high.

In either case, it is essential that their new English course contains topics which are interesting to them, and exercises which are intellectually challenging and which have "real-world" value in their eyes.

When you design your classes, include topics and tasks which interest, challenge and motivate students.

Here are some other ideas:

Use authentic photographs, magazine articles, website articles and emails

Try to bring in stories with characters students can identify themselves with

Focus on situations, topics and emotional issues which students will recognize and respond to

Present authentic functional language and everyday expressions which young British and American people use in conversations

Include topics which expand students' knowledge of the world

Contributed by Fuscoe, Kilbey, Freebairn, Bygrave & Copage, coauthors of the series for teenagers Upbeat

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