One problem that is niggling away at me about this though, is that teenagers don't seem to have any interests. As a teenager, I was interested in very, very little. Pretty much everything I did could be boiled down to five motivating factors:
- Bodily needs - Hunger, tiredness, etc.
- It was expected of me (by parents or elders) - e.g. This is why I went to college and university.
- Shortest/Easiest path - I spent my teenhood in a state of eternal tiredness. Most of the things in my life were something to 'get through' before I could have a nap.
- Respect/notice of peers (and/or attractiveness to girls) - e.g. Acting the fool, playing football, pretending to be happy.
- Distraction from life.
(Note that the two that would lead me to learn most of the things I learnt during school (2 and 4) are extrinsic motivators.)
Now from this small set of things, that pupils are interested in, there is a much smaller subset of things that I am knowledgeable enough about to bring in to lessons. I have successfully brought in computer games (e.g. Kill/Death ratios used in Call of Duty), art and some sports. That's as many as I've been able to find so far.
So how do you use a person's interests to help them to learn when they don't yet have any interests? How do you foster someone's interest in something without extrinsic motivation? How much of a teacher's time should be spent 'marketing' their subject and 'generating interest'?