Communication Activities for Teens

Instructor: Clio Stearns

Clio has taught education courses at the college level and has a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction.

Helping teenagers communicate with each other can go a long way toward supporting their social and emotional well-being. This lesson provides activities for fostering strong communication among teens.

Helping Teens Communicate

Teenagers sometimes get a bad reputation. They can be thought of as surly and moody, or only interested in what's popular. So many of these stereotypes, however, are based on false assumptions. One thing that can make a big difference in how teenagers present themselves and feel about themselves is helping them develop strong communication skills.

Learning to communicate means learning to say what's going on for you in any given situation, and it also means doing a good job listening to what's going on for other people. The activities in this lesson are designed to appeal to teenagers with different strengths and learning styles, all while giving them practice with strong communication skills.

Verbal Activities

Of course, much of communication is verbal in nature, having to do with talking, listening, and sometimes reading and writing. This section offers activities that give teens practice with different facets of verbal communication.

Turbo Tales

This activity gives students practice communicating as efficiently and effectively as possible. Compile a list of topics teens might be interested in or have strong feelings about, like family, friendship, music, or politics. Choose one student to begin. He or she has exactly one minute to say as much as he or she can about the topic you name. Then, others in the class should try to echo back what they heard him or her say. Talk about what was fun and challenging about this round before giving another student a turn.

I Feel Messages

Communication can be particularly challenging in times of conflict, uncertainty, or when difficult emotions prevail. Teach your students to use ''I feel'' messages. Students should practice saying, ''I feel... when... because... .'' This gives them practice speaking from their own points of view and articulating their feelings. After teaching the basic framework, break students into small groups and assign scenarios to think about, or ask them to talk through times when using ''I feel'' messages might come in handy. For instance, if students are talking about the scene in the lunchroom at school, they might practice saying, ''I feel frustrated when I can't find a seat because I worry that everyone is staring at me.''

Visual & Kinesthetic Activities

Some teens will be better communicators if they're given the opportunity to practice using diverse modalities. The activities in this section teach communication skills by appealing to visual and tactile ways of learning.

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