Teaching Adolescents

Problems teachers face teaching adolescents


From my past experiences teaching children, adolescents to adults, I would like to share some of the common problems that teachers face teaching adolescents in this topic.


Below are three main problems that we face when teaching adolescents?


                    a) Adolescents may not pay attention for


 b) Adolescents challenging teachers’


                    c) Moodiness of adolescents.


How to overcome these problems?



a) Adolescents may not pay attention for long.


When adolescents do not pay attention for long it means there is something wrong with our teaching. It is either monotonous or not interesting to the students. Most students will be day dreaming or disturbing the teaching process. So there is a need to change our style and method to be unpredictable and attention grabbing to the students to avoid boredom and to remain relevant.


So during lesson plan always include some games to kill boredom. Games certainly make learning fun, as long as they are relevant to the lesson point taught.


Include some songs which they love in our teaching to arouse the student’s interest. Every lesson should be well prepared so that all topics discuss and taught are associated with their interests, goals, likes and dislikes to make the lesson a success.


During the lesson or half way through the lesson, the students lose interest and cannot remain focus the teacher should immediately change the method, technique and the approach.

It is important to change the methods and approaches for every lessons to make it interesting. Boredom comes with repetition if the same method and approach is used every day.


b) Adolescents challenging teachers’ authority.


Good example is students answering back in a very unfriendly manner or very uncooperative.


The teacher should in first few days of class create a warm, comfortable and friendly atmosphere in the classroom. Treat adolescent students as though you are one of their friends. Let them know that if there is any problem feel free to approach and consult the teacher. Be approachable!


Give a helping hand and show concern for the students instead of turning a blind eye or ignoring their problem. Give advice and provide guidance. This will establish a co-operative relationship with the students thus gain their trust.


For example, students break a minor rule by throwing rubbish around and are caught. The teacher carries out a punishment of cleaning the compound to impose discipline and show of authority.


The above disciplinary action bound to create resentment and be challenged by adolescent students. At this age, adolescent students begin to think for themselves. They begin to explore some independence and develop their own views.


So they need reasoning. Explain to them that it is wrong; give the reasons why they should throw it at a proper place. Encourage them to pick it up willingly instead of imposing punishment straight away. Let them go with a warning.


c) Moodiness of adolescents.


          The character and behavior of adolescents are unpredictable. Some ‘natural leaders’ as I call them are very happy, positive and out going than turn withdrawn and quiet the next.


          This sudden change of behavior is natural because adolescents are going through both psychological and biological changes. If ask to perform a certain task and the students is not in the mood of doing it on that day, go easy on him or her please do not force and insist that it has to be completed while others have and impose punishment. The student may be tired or having her period so let the student take a rest to show the teacher cares.                   


                   In extreme cases, an obedient, good, kind, shy and quiet student who faces problem in socializing with other students either because of fluency in the language or cultural differences, especially foreign students should not be marginalized and left unnoticed. Worst still if the student is ridiculed and made fun off. It will change the student’s psychological behavior from an obedient, good, kind, shy and quiet student to one who is withdrawn, irritable, filled with hate and vengeance toward other students and the teacher. If ignored and prolonged, this can result in unforeseen circumstance like in the worst case scenario, a killing spree to seek revenge which usually end in suicide.


                   Special attention has to be given from the very beginning to these students to encourage and assist them not only from the teacher but also try to get follow students to help. Show the unfortunate student that he is accepted and nothing to be shy of to have the disadvantage and all are willing to help and listen to any problem. Gain the student’s trust and friendship to show that we are a family.


          Feel free to comment or add your experiences and solutions to this or other problems.

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