Working with Pre-Teens is much more difficult than other age groups. What worked previously, quite possibly, is the opposite of what will work now!
Pre-Teens become heavily influenced by peers
Pre-Teens want more respect
Punishment has the opposite effect
You must give respect to get respect
While you can’t control what happens out of class; you can still control what happens IN your class.
- Model a respectful tone (If a Pre-Teen does not feel heard at home, make sure class is a Safe Place for them. They need to be accepted. Consistency and Honesty = Respect)
- Strengthen your relationship (Remember in Level 1 how we learned that a coach-athlete relationship can be greater than a parent-child? Make sure you build relationships with your students)
- Set your non-negotiable boundaries (This can include using a respectful tone, not interrupting, and being nice and cheering for all classmates)
- Let them learn on their own (You cannot always intervene natural consequence like tripping when not looking where you are walking. This age group learns from their own mistakes – allow them to make them. If teaching a skill, and they think their way is better than yours, let them try it! If they don’t succeed after a few turns, ask if they’d like to try it your way. This only works if they understand the concept of “change.”)
If there are bigger issues – deal with them privately if possible