Like anyone, teens have a hard time taking interest in things that don’t have context and meaning for them. So how can you interest your teen in learning a language?
Travel to a country that speaks that language
If you have the ability to do this, then do it! Show them the world, other cultures, other people, other languages. They’ll fall in love with a country and decide that they want to learn the language. Warning: They may fall in love with a boy or girl from that country and decide that communication is essential. 😉 The good news is that there no faster way to learn a language. Love and passion are great motivators for learning anything new.
Help them meet people that speak the language
If you don’t have the funds to travel to another country for a month have them take classes online with a teacher from the country. The teacher will individualize the classes to your teen’s interest and will introduce them to a new culture. It doesn’t hurt if the teacher is young and cool, someone your teen wants to impress. You’ll be amazed at how quickly their language skills will develop if they want to impress their teacher. Not to mention it may open the door to a flood of interest in the country’s culture, history, food, etc.
Integrate the language learning into something they already have an interest in
Have them take classes online and request that the classes be focused on their current interests. For example; if they are interested in film, find a teacher that has a lot of knowledge about film from their country. They can talk about their favorite movies, directors and actors, and use this interest to integrate language learning into their lives. One thing about teenagers is they love to talk (well, maybe not to their parents, but they do), especially about what is important to them, so get them speaking to a teacher in other languages. Great language teachers will ignite a student’s interest and let the student communicate. They’ll be careful not to overcorrect or make the student hesitant, and before you know it your teen will be happily chatting away in a second language.