On teaching adolescents

I have enjoyed working with adolescents.  I have spent alot of time up front – teaching.  Whether teaching hundreds or just a handful, teaching students has been rewarding as well as entertaining.  I’ve prepared lessons and curriculum for students.  I’ve taken classes on it; I’ve researched and studied in order to teach teens.

I am at the point now where I am interacting with students 10 years or so out of high school.  Some of them have master’s degrees, and much smarter than I am.  In my reflective practices as a teacher, I can tell you about lessons that I have given and talks that I’ve presented to all of the students that I’ve ever taught.  I can remember points and illustrations from my talks.  But when I’ve talked to these former students – I realize that they do not remember any of my points.  They hardly remember the lessons that I worked hours and hours on.  They might remember an illustration or two, but they – for the most part didn’t walk away remembering any of my talks.

What they do remember though are all of the other things that I did to them or with them.  They remember the electric/buzzer chair that we brought it and lit people up on.  They remember the food that we made them eat.  They remember the diaper illustration.  They remember the fact that I told them that I’d take them to Las Vegas when they were older and tell them stories of “when I was in college.”  They remember all of the things that I didn’t give a thought to, and they don’t remember any of the things that I spent the most time on.

After reflecting on this , I realize that I was not teaching them in their mode of learning – in the way that adolescents learn best.  Well, they do remember all of the things that I “taught” them in the mode of learning for adolescents.  I don’t think I wasted all of that time studying and preparing.  In the end, they still learned – maybe not the things that I wanted the to learn, but I was still able to teach them.

2 thoughts on “On teaching adolescents

  1. I wish all teachers would realize this…maybe they do and they are just too stuborn to attempt creative teaching. Who knows. You should spread the word though, lets all start thinking a little more outside of the box, and who knows what amount of knowledge could be retained then. I can’t recall the endless lectures and note taking, but the whacky teachers that would dare to do something different and creative. Well, those are the experiences where knowledge was taken away….those are the classes I won’t forget.

    1. Why wait? Why try to make professors do something that they wont/cant do? We can be about it. Instead of trying to do something impossible, lets just lead the way.

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