Connecting with High School Audiences

Best practices when presenting to high school audiences.

Best Practices: 9th – 12th Grade Audience

The 9th – 12th grade audience ranges between 14-18 years old. These four years have been said to be the most influential on what kind on individuals these students will be for the rest of their lives. High school students are at the point where asking questions can dig up just as much information as answering them. They think outside of the box in both concrete and abstract terms, have the ability to work effectively individually and in teams, and are able to find connections between wide ranging subjects. Here are Peace Corps, we love to see intercultural learning and excitement that comes from engaging activities. We have some tips to help guide you on this journey.

There are so many ways to connect with your 9th – 12th grade audience in challenging, meaningful, and enjoyable ways:

  • Encourage connections. Allow for students to develop their own connections between their own experiences and the topic at hand. Not only will this get them thinking about similarities and differences, but it goes a long way in getting those key ideas to stick.
  • Make some wiggle room. Students are more likely to take something away from a lesson about a topic that is interesting to them. Whenever possible, offer students some flexibility. This flexibility can come in many forms, such as: allowing students to pick a research topic that relates to the lesson or offering a variety of presentation methods instead of just sticking to a PowerPoint.
  • Use engaging activities. High school students will lose interest quickly if they are just sitting in their desks listening to their teachers lecture all day. Switch things up, organizing activities that incorporate group work, individual tasks, research, presentations, etc. Check out the resources on the Peace Corps website for activities that will keep your students engaged.
  • Tech, tech, tech. High school students of today use technology more than ever before, so incorporating it into their lesson plans is essential. Not only will it keep them more engaged, but it’s likely that they will either be familiar with whatever technology is being used or it will be easier for them to get grip on.
  • Be in the now. Not only will this make developing connections more feasible for students, but it also offers students the opportunity to work on solutions to issues relevant to both today and their future. Focusing on current events will allow students to gain a better understanding of what is happening in the world around them.

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