Workshop on Teenage Motivation

mentor training photoOn March 18, YouthWorks held a training for mentors entitled “Adolescent and Adult Minds”. The training emphasized the importance of motivation in working with teenagers.  Trainer Sangita Kumar first led mentors in a discussion in which mentors were asked to recall their own motivations and priorities as teenagers. Then we reviewed some brain research about adolescence, and discussed how to incorporate this information into work with teenagers on the job.

Mentors came up with this list of ideas to motivate interns:

1) Provide opportunities for challenge or competition by:

  • Asking interns to create or suggest office projects / assignments
  • Acknowledging when tasks are difficult and admitting it to your interns
  • Allowing interns to explore tasks before you engage in demonstration
  • Finding out what does not come naturally to the intern and then setting up tasks so that the intern can practice and improve on those areas
  • Setting goals for improvement (benchmarks)
  • Creating a point system for tasks
  • Awarding small prizes

2) Establish connections to future careers by:

  • Linking skills that interns gain during their internships to their future goals or work readiness
  • Assigning tasks that are enable intern to see the big picture
  • Assisting interns with scheduling informational interviews with department staff or yourself about career paths

3) Provide a variety of tasks by:

  • Giving multiple tasks at once and allow the intern to prioritize them
  • Giving interns multiple tasks to choose from

4) Show your appreciation to interns by:

  • Using bi-weekly timesheet conversation section as a scheduled time to discuss appreciation for intern
  • Asking interns to assess themselves
  • Making appreciation comments specific (i.e. Thank you for organizing the tax statement files. Our office has been behind on that task and has really benefited from your assistance.)
  • Doing something personal to recognize accomplishments or effort (e-card, post-it note, e-mail)

You can download the materials from this training here.