Keeping Teenagers Attentive and Participatory by Louise Ferraz Catunda


One of the greatest challenges teachers can face during a class is to control teenagers’ demeanor and to have them pay attention to the lesson. Moreover, the learners are supposed to show that they’re interested by participating when called and volunteering when asked to. However, most students are not very eager to learn, for they’re more interested in talking to their friends and playing around. Therefore, here are the steps to an effective game teachers can use in order to keep students attentive, participatory and not disruptive.

The first step is to divide the class into two groups with the same number of students and explain to them how the game works. The teacher can choose which students are going to be in each group or he/she can leave this task to the teenagers. Then, each group is given ten points that are to be written on the board. Under the points chart, the teacher can write the words “English”, “sit down”, “pay attention” and “raise your hands”. After that, the teacher tells the students that every time a person from a group doesn’t follow what’s on the board, one point is taken from the entire group.

Following that, the real action begins. During the class, every time a student doesn’t follow the rules, the teacher points at her/him. Whenever that happens, another student from the same group who is paying attention usually notices the teacher’s action and tells the other one to stop doing whatever he/she was doing to disturb the class. If the teacher points once and peace is regained, everything is fine. However, if the disruptive teenager keeps disturbing, one point is taken from the whole group. That’s how they lose points and the prize.

The final step is the delivery of the prize for each student in the winning group. At the end of the week (or the last class of the week), the game ends. The winner is the group with the highest number of points. Usually, the prize teachers give to students is candy. However, after some time winning candies, the teenagers can feel bored and not play along anymore. The solution to that is to change the prizes to something they find more interesting, but still simple. Some examples are chocolate; basic school supplies, like pencils, pens, erasers; and some other little things they appreciate, like key rings, stickers, note pads etc.

This activity brings students together at the same time that it makes life easier for teachers. Since the teenagers appreciate getting prizes, they will make an effort to follow the rules and not lose points. In order to do that, they have to work together and give tips to their classmates related to what they can or can’t do. Moreover, the teacher doesn’t have to call their names all the time or threaten to call their parents if they don’t behave. Their good manners will come automatically after some time. This means extra free time, fewer worries and less stress.


4 thoughts on “Keeping Teenagers Attentive and Participatory by Louise Ferraz Catunda

  1. I loved your text, and I will try out some of your suggestions. Getting teens involved is always a big challenge!! Simone

  2. Very nice suggestion Louise! I am a big fan of classroom management and I just had to read your text. I believe your ideas work beautifully with young learners because they naturally love to follow rules and usually obey the teacher when their attention is called. Another suggestion is to award them with games, activities and songs chosen by them. Thanks for sharing!

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