Trying to Talk to Reach Teens? Maybe a Teen Quiz can Help
By Brian Fong
Q. I'm a new 8th grade teacher and I don't have a lot of experience with teens. Could you help me with a teen quiz that will get them thinking?
A. Before I help you with a teen quiz, let me say "good for you"! Many new teachers start out in elementary school and then work their way up to the big leagues. You jumped right into the deep water and I'm proud of you. I love teachers.
So, you want to reach teens and you're hoping that a teen quiz will get you some results. One of the key concepts to keep in mind is that you don't want your teens thinking that you're trying to be one of them, or that you're invading their age group. Remember, even if you're in your mid 20's, you're "old" to someone who is 13. You need to design a teen quiz that makes them think that you respect their opinions and that you are treating them like an "adult".
That means instead of a teen quiz that asks "which one of the MTV VJ's wear the most bling bling", you want to ask questions that allow them to show your their intellectual and emotional sides. At the same time you need to keep in mind that the word "quiz" smells an awful lot like the word "test" and we all know how much kids hate taking tests. Maybe instead of calling it a teen quiz, you'd get more mileage out of calling it a Teen Opinion Poll.
Now that you've disguised the teen quiz, you can go on to fool them into actually thinking about whatever subject you're responsible for teaching them. For example, a question such as "What makes people want to plant car bombs?" opens up multiple discussion opportunities. You can talk about hate, racism, anti-semitism, religious intolerance, political intrigue, current events and historical events.
See how just one well designed question can start a meaningful discussion? Imagine if you had time for even one teen quiz a week, and you could pick one question that would stretch the boundaries of their everyday thoughts and conversations. By the end of the year your teen quiz will likely result in a more aware and educated child than you might have if you just crammed knowledge down their throats every day.
A teen quiz can be the key that unlocks their mind. Good luck and thanks for being a teacher!
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