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  1. #11
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    Well, it is in North America, but I recognize it's far from the case in the UK.
    Well there have been a lot of books written and several films made about seriously disruptive students in North America that must be pure fiction then.

    I can't really believe that the shootings of teachers and fellow students that I have read about (rarely, thank goodness) are all caused by teachers who have not been respectful, kind, benevolent, and have a fascinating and fun programme.

    But perhaps I am just being insularly British in not considering assault and murder to be examples of a bit of playfulness, and overzealous energy

  2. #12
    5jj's Avatar
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Seriously, as youandcorey (from North America!) wrote: ďAll teachers have great classes and ones from HELL. When you put your heart into your work sometimes it gets broken, so we need to appreciate the classes that shine all the more.Ē

    If Konungusvia says that he has never had trouble with students disrupting him in any profound or lasting way, then I must believe him. However, many highly-motivated, hard-working, humane and well-prepared teachers on both sides of the Atlantic encounter students who are very disruptive in a very profound and lasting way.

    The reasons for the anti-social behaviour may be traced back to any number of causes, and it may well be untrue to suggest that any student is inherently evil but I donít think it is particularly helpful to suggest that disruption is always caused by the faults of the teacher.

    We teachers can help ourselves and one another by recognising that improvements in our own attitude and methods can help prevent some of the problems before they even start, and alleviate others after they have started. But if we take upon ourselves all of the responsibility for the anti-social behaviour of some of our students, then we are helping nobody; indeed we are doing a great disservice to those teachers and students who are the innocent victims of such behaviour.

  3. #13
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    I have had such troubles. But only early in my career, to any grave extent. Besides, are you telling me I shouldn't encourage new teachers to try to make it about their programme? That's the most important point, and few new teachers (and sadly, not all seasoned ones) are quite aware of the importance of the fact.

  4. #14
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Quote Originally Posted by konungursvia View Post
    I have had such troubles. But only early in my career, to any grave extent. Besides, are you telling me I shouldn't encourage new teachers to try to make it about their programme? You would know the answer to that question if you had if you read the first sentence of the final paragraph of my last post.

    However, when many very experienced teachers are sometimes faced with classes containing disruptive students, I think it can be very disheartening for a beginning teacher to be told: 'If you're respectful, kind, benevolent, and have a fascinating and fun programme, no students will disrupt you in any profound or lasting way'. (My emphasis added.) My experience over forty years, the experience of many colleagues, and my reading of a great deal of serious literature on the problem of disruptive pupils tell me that this statement, in its present form, is simply not true.

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  5. #15
    Tdol is offline Editor, UsingEnglish.com
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Apart from what we read, etc, we can only talk from personal experience; I have taught involved in a place where I had to intervene (once) when knives were pulled, but this summer I visited an old friend who teaches in an independent school whose staff room looked like a gentleman's club- teachers there would be unlikely to have had to deal with the same issues as many teachers in schools in less affluent and privileged areas and would probably have very different ideas on many issues, with plenty of room for other positions based on experiences.

    I'd say that konungursvia's point was valid and desirable, but would qualify it with saying that even with the best will, planning and determination things can still go wrong and problems arise, pretty much everywhere, and not only in the UK.

  6. #16
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Quote Originally Posted by Tdol View Post
    Apart from what we read, etc, we can only talk from personal experience; I have taught involved in a place where I had to intervene (once) when knives were pulled, but this summer I visited an old friend who teaches in an independent school whose staff room looked like a gentleman's club- teachers there would be unlikely to have had to deal with the same issues as many teachers in schools in less affluent and privileged areas and would probably have very different ideas on many issues, with plenty of room for other positions based on experiences.

    I'd say that konungursvia's point was valid and desirable, but would qualify it with saying that even with the best will, planning and determination things can still go wrong and problems arise, pretty much everywhere, and not only in the UK.
    That's certainly a good way to put it.

  7. #17
    teacherjoe is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    Going back to the original question of how to motivate unresponsive teens, I had an interesting experience a couple of years ago. I was teaching in a Canadian high school in China, with mostly Chinese students but a few Korean students too. I was asked to "take risks" with them, to see what I could do to motivate them. The most successful thing I did was to... show them The Simpsons!

    I know, it may seem that I just gave up and used animated TV shows to escape my responsibilities, but I had a plan, and it worked out, for the most part. After showing episodes of The Simpsons, I gave them sentences they had heard (if they actually paid attention - at first many students didn't!) and they had to identify who said which sentences. Then I gave them scrambled sentences and they had to put the words in the correct order. Later I gave them a list of sentences, out of order, and they had to put them in the order they happened in the show. In short, students had to think about the language they heard and manipulate it in various ways.

    I remember the first time the students wrote coherent paragraphs! In the TV show (not sure if you're all familiar with it) there is a rich man who everyone hates. In one episode, they all want to kill him and describe exactly how they would do it. My students really enjoyed describing how they would kill ol' Mr. Burns, using perfect topic sentences, giving specific descriptive examples, concluding with heartfelt satisfaction at their triumph. Later, when Mr. Burns actually was shot, they all wrote their guesses as to "who done it", but of course, they were all wrong.

    Anyway, it was a lot of fun to see their progress as everything we worked on suddenly came together. There were many, many frustrating times, especially with those students who believed that "TV show being turnd on" actually meant "time to use my cell phone" and automatically pulled out their phone (or went to sleep) whenever I pushed the play button. As with The Simpsons, however, there was a happy ending!

  8. #18
    rocking is offline Junior Member
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    Lightbulb Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    It takes an unexceptionally passionate or compassionate person to teach - or mix with 13/14 year-olds. That job must be exclusively reserved for some unsually gifted human beings who were born to impact the teenagers.
    Quote Originally Posted by fivejedjon View Post
    You write: "I'm fully aware that it's the approach I'm taking with them, and not a problem of theirs"

    Don't be too hard on yourself. The reason I am giving you no advice is that one of the reasons I stopped teaching in 11-16 schools in the UK to return to TEFL was that, after 32 years in the classroom, I still had problems with some children in that age range. I regret to inform you that even if you receive some helpful advice from other teachers, it may not work for you.

    13/14 year-olds can be ... (I shall not complete that, because some moderator would only have to delete the expressions I would use.)

  9. #19
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    Wink Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    well,looking at peoples responses...
    In my 6 year experience in teaching English to 7-15 year old pupils, as a foreign language in Croatia, teaching is art. You never know how it turns out. You never know if the lesson plan will work perfectly, no matter how good it looks or how great it passed last year or yesterday with another class.
    So my advice would be; Do your best, prepare, enjoy and have fun!

  10. #20
    BarbaraAnn is offline Newbie
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    Default Re: Teaching Unresponsive Teens

    I'm teaching 2 classes of 15-year-olds in Germany. One consists of respectful and responsive students with low to intermediate skills. The other is made up of completely silent students, some ill-mannered and disrespectful students, two interested students and all of them have very poor English skills. After 'learning' English for five years, some don't understand me when I ask basic questions like: And why did you do that?

    I've been teaching for 20 years and this is the worst class I've ever had the displeasure to teach. They refuse to speak, seriously. Most of them are too immature to understand the value of knowing English. They tell me (in German) that what we're doing (talking about their 2-week Christmas vacation (simple past practice) is useless and won't help them on their next test. I've even started doubting myself. But their homeroom teacher said he and all of the other teachers are having the same problem.

    This is a society of teaching to the test. Learning the language is inconsequential. The way the tests are designed here, you can get an average grade even if you never learned how to write in English. Education politics.

    So, while I appreciate the well-intentioned advice, I no longer agree with the TESOL teaching methods that tell us to be entertainers and motivators. Yes, there are some really dull and and unimaginative personalities out there trying to teach. I love teaching and I like young people. I've been told many times by students that they like my way of teaching. I use a little of everything, including YouTube and music and, and, and. But if they don't want to learn, they won't - whether it's due to adolescence, insecurity or indifference. And sometimes there's just a classroom dynamic, where one or more people and their negative energy infects the whole lot.

    It's time to return to more discipline and expect students to be respectful and motivated. And if their unwilling to do what the teacher asks them to do then there should be consequences in the form of low grades.

    Whew! I got that off my shoulder.

    Love and Light

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