4-H Youth Teaching Youth

In an effort to create unique leadership and career exploration opportunities, the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth program trains teens to take an active role in the teaching and leading of healthy living curriculum to their younger counterparts. These teens are not merely supporting an adult educator or tutoring, but taking charge of the session delivery by fully executing the learning experience on their own. Teens are trained by 4-H staff on classroom management and public speaking skills prior to delivering the program.

Why teens as teachers? Through the delivery process, teen teachers and their younger peers build a relationship that holds dual benefits for each party; the teens are mastering new skills and appreciate being viewed as a role model, and the younger youth are observing a peer making positive choices, showing compassion for each student in the session, and acting as a role model. Research indicates that cross-age teaching is an effective delivery method because pre-teens and younger children often respond more enthusiastically to modeling by teens than adults; younger youth look up to teens, so rapport is established very quickly. Some researchers would go as far as to say that it is the most effective way of providing opportunities for positive youth development and encouraging youth to avoid delinquent behaviors.

Training teens to deliver our programming provides an opportunity to expand the 4-H reach far beyond what staff alone could accomplish while building strong relationships between youth, teens, and partner agencies alike.

Are you a school or youth-serving organization? Become a 4-H Youth Teaching Youth partner! Contact Amber Shanahan (shanahan@umn.edu) to get started.

Are you a student in grades eight-twelve? Apply to be a teen teacher!