Everyone is teachable – every age!
Everyone needs Dharma. This is an age where there is often a lot of pain.
Need to relate to them, get a good relationship with them quite quickly, get them on side. Help them to see that this is what they need and that it’s not boring.
There are many ways to teach Dharma to teenagers, different styles and tactics. Trial and error and find the way that works for you. If a way isn’t working, don’t be afraid to change it.
Do not assume that teenagers are like how you were when you were a teenager!
You may find differences with how males and females process the instructions.
The centre does need a child protection policy and adhere to it.
Fees, flexible, don’t charge too much.
Content and style of the teaching
It is quite different to teaching adults and teaching just like it’s an adult class is unlikely to work.
Needs a person that is dedicated and committed to making it work.
Don’t be afraid of big topics, e.g. death.
Give credit to the depth they can go.
Plan topics that you know they will like, e.g. attachment and jealousy, how to actually solve world’s problems, compassion and wisdom together, Tantra.
If teaching inner peace and that happiness doesn’t come from externals, this needs to be done very skilfully because it is easy for them to rebel against these ideas. They are looking for inner peace, just like everyone else, they just need to know how their mind works.
Not preaching or dictating. Try to move away from what they are used to in traditional schooling.
Student led is good. Create an atmosphere where they can ask questions.
Must be fun, not boring. But don’t need to be strict with just talking about Dharma, can discuss whilst doing other activities.
Break up the class with different activities. Maybe a bit faster paced than with adults.
Be flexible, don’t be afraid to change what you planned to do, sometimes a complete change.
Their main problems are often attachment to reputation – an over concern for what others think of them, anxiety and panic attacks, self esteem, low self image, expectations of themselves and from others, exam stress, family changes, break-ups. Teach towards this, to solve these problems.
If they are coming to you, e.g. Teen Class in your space
Create a different physical environment if can. More relaxed, less formal, e.g. lots of soft furnishings, blankets, cushions.
Can give them little gifts, they really appreciate. Have nice food available for them.
Could work towards them producing something they can show others.
Could use multi-media.
Idea for an activity: Give a word to contemplate for one minute, e.g. love, suicide, fear. And then open up for discussion.
Idea for an activity: Do art activity, e.g. diy lava lamps, but ask them what it could be an analogy for.
Idea for an activity: Label stones, greatest delusions and opponents needed.
Idea for an activity: Riddles that can be acted out and bring in a Dharma meaning.
If you are going to them, e.g. school visit
Harder if it’s in their territory.
Prepare them well for meditations, set boundaries and expectations of their behaviour.
Ask class teacher to help with any discipline issues that may arise.
In Your Dreams short story click here
Realise short story click here
The Final Hours short story click here
Lion’s Roar short story click here
The Wishfulfilling Jewel short story click here
Life of Love short story click here