Teaching teenagers has its own challenges and rewarding experiences. How to tutor teenagers online in the most effective way is a question that many teachers ask themselves. The modern virtual classroom provides new opportunities for more fulfilling educational techniques that meet the needs of the students and make the work of the tutors easier and more pleasant.
Even the most experienced online tutors often find teaching teenagers intimidating. Young adults are among the most diverse groups of learners with different qualities, motivational levels, skills, attitudes, and interests. Teens can behave as adults by showing maturity and respect at one moment, while at the next moment they can be silly and display a lack of concentration and interest that is more typical of the youngest learners. When you are looking for tips on how to tutor teenagers online, there are a few approaches and strategies you can use to make the process more rewarding, interesting, and pleasant.
Teens as learners
Here are some of the characteristics of teenagers as a group of learners that should be considered when looking for the most effective online tutoring methods and approaches:
- Teenagers are not children. Students between the ages of 15 and 18 usually have their own interests and opinions. They want to be respected, understood, and listened to. Tutors should communicate with them as they would with adults: in a respectful and friendly way.
- Teens are young adults, but sometimes they can act like children. When teaching teenagers online, tutors might have to occasionally deal with immature and inappropriate behavior from the students.
- Teens are more distracted during the studying process than adult learners. Distractions come in many forms: from additional activities like watching videos, etc. during class, to interacting with each other via texting, etc.
- Teenagers are sensitive to criticism and peer pressure.
- Teens can learn online in a virtual classroom just as well as in a traditional classroom in a friendly and welcoming environment. In some cases online studying is even more effective for students than ordinary learning in a school.
How to tutor teenagers online and turn challenges into a rewarding study experience?
Use a combination of interactive teaching tools and techniques
Students learn in different ways. For some, it is more effective to discuss and write about various subjects, while others learn better through visual presentations. The virtual classroom’s interactive whiteboard is one of your most powerful tools to get everybody engaged in the study process. Integrating media materials into the lessons, like videos, short films, and music, assure a more fulfilling learning experience for all teens in the virtual classroom.
Stimulate and challenge the students
Teenagers get bored easier compared to adult learners. One way to keep the attention of the students is to challenge their thinking and decision making skill, creativity, and logic. Add more difficult tasks. Ask questions and start group discussions. Slightly more difficult exercises stimulate teens’ minds and keep them focused on the lesson. Teens will feel more engaged in the study process, and they will feel more included and competent. In addition, you can include competitions within the virtual classroom by dividing the students into small groups. Use the breakout rooms to create teams and encourage them to put their best effort forward when completing the task.
Give teens a choice and alternatives
One of the most effective methods when tutoring teens online is to give them a choice regarding the learning process. This technique improves the motivation of the students to work on the projects and to be more involved in the lessons. For example, give teens a few options about their homework assignment. If they like to play learning games, offer them a choice about which game to play during the lesson. Ask them about their opinion on the topics that you will discuss in class, etc. If you are planning to play videos during the lesson, ask them which clips they want to watch first.
Advance your classroom management skills
How can you maintain harmony in the virtual classroom, as well as a flawless study process? Online tutors deal with student distractions as much as the teachers in regular classrooms do. Online pupils might not be in the same physical room, but they also talk to each other via texts, etc. They might get distracted by noises and things happening in their environment. They also do activities on the side, like watching videos, TV, etc. during the lesson. Some students try to cheat during the tests and exercises. In order to deal with all of these situations, tutors have to carefully observe everything that happens in the virtual classroom. It is important to include all students in the study process to keep them focused and involved in the tasks. Don’t hesitate to ask questions and to encourage teens to share and ask as well. The role of the tutor is to find the perfect balance in the learning experience by interacting with every student, from the shyest to the most extroverted teens.
Be understanding, patient, and encouraging
Teens go through a lot; we’ve all been there. The online tutor has to find what methods and techniques work for the whole group of students and, at the same time, to apply an individual approach to each pupil. It is important to keep in mind that teens are very sensitive to criticism and peer pressure. For this reason, lots of online tutors give writing assignments to their students. Teens get individual feedback from their teacher. In this way they don’t feel exposed in front of their classmates. The environment in the classroom should always be positive, friendly, and inviting. Regular feedback should be given with a positive attitude, with advice on how to improve their work, and with encouragement on how to express themselves and to be active in class. Tutors should also ask students for feedback to strengthen their relationship and to improve communication in the classroom.
Praise your teen learners
Show appreciation for the work of the students especially when they give their best effort on an assignment. Be sure to praise the teens for their achievements. Express how proud you are of their accomplishments and improved skills and knowledge. When young learners feel noticed and appreciated, they’ll be more motivated to put their best effort forward in the learning process and to expand their horizons.
With lots of patience, a positive attitude, and the right tools up your sleeve, you’ll know the best practices of how to tutor teenagers online in virtual classrooms.