|What Will You Gain From Cross-Age Teaching?
Cross-age teaching programs can provide a sense of belonging to teaching volunteers or students who feel left out, lonely, or uncomfortable in large groups or traditional school environments. They also allow persons with special talents to share those abilities with others.
Students in your cross-age teaching program -- whether learning about crime prevention, improving academic abilities, or mastering a new skill -- will benefit too by gaining confidence and improved self-esteem. Their improved confidence and increased self-esteem, in turn, may make them less likely to commit crimes or abuse drugs.
By bringing together people of different ages, cross-age teaching may help eliminate -- or at least reduce -- stereotypes or misconceptions that people have about others who are older or younger than they are. Cross-age teaching also provides a great opportunity for everyone involved to learn about and appreciate the abilities, experience, and perspective of persons of different ages.
Programs that involve students who are much younger or much older than you will have added benefits. Youth who are teaching preschool or elementary school students, for example, will be able to serve as role models for children in need of guidance and advice. Cross-age teaching programs for senior citizens may help to eliminate or reduce misconceptions -- or even fears -- that seniors may have about young people in the community.2
Many youth across the country have already initiated successful cross-age teaching programs. In Barnwell, SC, for example, a group of high school students organized an antidrug training program for 11- to 14-year-olds in which they provided these younger students with antidrug information and taught them techniques for resisting peer pressure to use drugs. Drawing on their experiences, the Barnwell high school students imparted valuable information and at the same time served as role models for the younger students.
2 For more information on the benefits of youth working with older citizens, refer to Two Generations -- Partners in Prevention, a Youth in Action Bulletin available at no charge from the Juvenile Justice Clearinghouse, listed in the Resources section.