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.

  1. 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)
  2. 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)
  3. Set your non-negotiable boundaries (This can include using a respectful tone, not interrupting, and being nice and cheering for all classmates)
  4. 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