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Mentoring Teenagers

Mentoring teenagers is great! One of the hardest things for a mentor to do is to keep the young people focused. Here are a few ideas on how to keep the youngsters focused:
Simple, but really effective:
1. Get to know your mentees’ names. This is such a simple tip, but so effective. Use name labels if necessary, but getting to know your mentees individually shows that you respect and value them and they will respect and value you in return. Oh yes, and it is very useful to use someone’s name if you need to get their attention!
2. Establish ground rules as early as possible. Get the young people to establish and agree them, and remind them every time what they have agreed to do!
3. Set specific, SMART, objectives at the beginning of your session and review them regularly throughout. At the end, evaluate what you have achieved with the whole group and agree what needs to be done next time.
4. If someone is doing something right, stop the session and bring everyone’s attention to it. Praise the person publicly and you may find others start repeating the desired behaviour!
5. Do a fun ice-breaker in the middle of the session if the energy is dipping. Ice-breakers work and are not just for the beginning. Have you heard about making a tower out of copies of the Metro?
6. If possible, get the youngsters to move around, so they are not sitting in the same spot throughout the whole session. Think of creative ways to get them working. Exercises using post-it notes, newspaper articles, games all help to accelerate their learning.

Do you have some tips to share? Would you like to know about the ice-breaker mentioned above? If so, let us know!

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