TEACHING ADOLESCENT STUDENTS: CHALLENGES AND OPPORTUNITIES
Olja R. Milošević
Adolescence is a critical period of life and only if teachers understand its dynamic nature, are they able to identify students’ needs and to assist them in the process of growing up and learning. Students are motivated to learn when they see the relevance of the content and if they can find a connection between instruction and the demands of modern society. Therefore, instruction needs to provide an academic challenge and develop the life skills that students need in future. This paper presents findings from some small-scale qualitative research that was carried out with adolescent students and their teachers in two different educational institutions in Serbia. The research had two aims: to establish what competencies adolescent students consider important for their future and to discover how teachers attempt to address the needs of their students. In order to understand what young people view as important for the future, in-depth semi-structured interviews were carried out with 14 students. Indepth interviews with the teachers helped establish what steps teachers should take to assist the adolescents to develop life skills. The findings indicate that collaboration, critical thinking, and taking responsibility for learning are identified as areas that students need to develop in order to be successful in school and later in life.
Keywords: adolescence, affective skills, collaboration, critical thinking.
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