Chris Roland

Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom


Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom is a textbook full of lesson ideas, exercises and tips for teaching English as a foreign language to teenage students.



Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom is packed full of lesson ideas, exercises and tips for teaching English to teenage students.

This 2018 ELTons-shortlisted book goes much further than simply telling you what to do and how to do it. It looks at the why. It explains the deeper rationale for decisions we might make as well as exploring the underlying principles and factors that can make or break a lesson.

Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom provides reflection that will be of value when you are sitting at home thinking over why one of your classes is not going the way that you want, or when you’ve seen a really good teaching idea at a conference and are wondering how to make it work in your own class.

Each chapter follows the same pattern:

  • The first part begins with a Discussion of a certain facet of teaching teens. This identifies key issues and outlines situations the author has experienced in his own teaching. It also draws upon writers and trainers who have played a role in his own development.
  • In the second part of each chapter, Practical applications, the discussion takes a more hands on turn. Here, Chris Roland outlines some classroom applications and techniques.
  • Each chapter ends with three summary sections. The Questions for reflection box may serve to summarise the chapter. The Things to try box can be the basis for small scale projects, action research or professional development. Finally, the Things to share box contains prompts for exchanging ideas where the chapter is being used in a training setting.

Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom is part of Pavilion ELT’s Teaching English series.

Chris Roland is also the author of Structuring Fun for Young Learners in the ELT Classroom.

Press reviews

“The book is packed with personal anecdotes and illuminating transcripts of real teacher-student exchanges. Often inspirational, it is written from the heart. Essential for those who teach teenagers. Highly recommended.” – Pete Sharma, EL Gazette (469), March 2020



Understanding Teenagers in the ELT Classroom is suitable for all teachers of English language who work with teenage students.


ISBN: 9781912755004
Publisher: Pavilion Publishing and Media Ltd
Publication: 28 August 2018

  • About the author
  • Introduction
  1. A closer look at classes, teachers and students
  2. Planning lessons with teenagers
  3. Classroom micromechanics
  4. Task design and instructions
  5. Group dynamics and order
  6. Affect: speaking positively to our students with care
  7. Logistical questions: homework, L1 and seating
  8. Tidy learning, messy learning and simple clutter
  9. Autonomy and student-fronted classes
  10. Teenagers and technology
  11. Differentiation
  12. Repetition, assimilation, memorisation
  13. Remembering irregular verbs
  14. Movement and space
  15. Getting them talking
  16. Listening and reading
  17. Grammar and writing
  18. Using video clips in the classroom
  19. Personalisation
  20. Testing, exams and report writing
  21. Techniques for teaching low-level teens
  22. Awareness and reasoning with teenagers
  23. Control of the class
  24. Classroom management strategies
  • Why teach teens?


Chris is a teacher, trainer and ‘ideas man’ well-known for his lively but practical sessions on the international conference circuit. He has taught in both the private academy sector and mainstream education system in Spain as well as holding posts with the British Council in Damascus and Barcelona. He works with teachers across a wide range of contexts. These include in-house training for ELI, the language school where he is based in Seville, intensive courses on methodology, tutoring on Trinity Certificate and Diploma courses for Active Language, Cádiz and Oxford TEFL, Barcelona and as a trainer of state school teachers in both Catalonia and previously in Aleppo. He is a regular speaker at events organised by TESOL Spain, has a close working relationship with APPI, the association for teachers of English in Portugal and has contributed many articles to English Teaching professional magazine.


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