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Can you recommend a book for intensive courses with teens?

Posted: 05 Jul 2006, 22:20
by marie
I´ve spent the last couple of hours reading your past advice and I must say it is really interesting and useful :D so I hope you can help me too.

I am about to start a 2 week-long intensive course with a group of 4 14-year old boys. Normally these courses are for adults and although I have experience with teens, I´m a bit worried about keeping them occupied for so long (basically all day). I want it to be interesting and benificial.Any ideas or tips for activities and structure?

Could you perhaps recommend a book that I could use? Either a course book (only 2 weeks though) or a book with different activities.


Intensive courses for teens

Posted: 07 Jul 2006, 17:51
by Lucy
Dear Marie,

I’m glad you’ve found my previous answers interesting. I’ll hope I’ll be able to help you this time around.

I am very keen on the Accelerate series. I think it is written by Philip Prowse. These course books are designed for short courses and have a variety of activities. They are actually for adults but many of the topics interest teens. Each unit is organised around a theme which gives structure to a short course.

If you are with a small group all day long, you will need a variety of activities and keeping it theme based will provide a common thread through what you are teaching. It might be too much to do one theme all day; so you might like to do one theme in the morning and another in the afternoon with both of them being revisited the following day or days.

With teenagers it is important to keep your lessons learner-centred; at that age it just isn’t cool to listen to a teacher! It’s also a good idea to give opportunities for creativity. I would suggest you achieve these two aims through the use of projects. One idea is to have them prepare a poster in pairs. The poster can illustrate one of the themes you are working on; it can include text and pictures. You will need materials for this such as glue and scissors. Remember to teach them the language needed; e.g. cut out, can you pass the _____ please? Other projects can be to prepare an advertisement, a short sketch, produce a game… Working on projects will also help you see what language needs to be focussed on. Allow students to use language freely and note down their errors. You can then decide whether to correct these errors at the end of the lesson or whether to dedicate some time to reviewing and practising the language point.

It’s also important to spend time building up a team spirit so they will feel comfortable working together and working with you; but don’t expect them to speak in English on the first day. Give them time before insisting. Books by Mario Rinvolucri have ideas about building team spirit.

I think a whole day in a classroom will be very tiring for the students and you. You could try to do an activity outside the classroom. You don’t say whether you are teaching in an English-speaking country. If so, can you organise a visit to a local attraction? If not, try to think of some way to get them out. One task could be to interview English-speaking tourists in their town. Stay with the students, give them a task to do while they are out and prepare it well in class beforehand.

I hope you will enjoy this teaching experience. Please write in again if you have any more questions.