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University of Minnesota Extension

4-H clover 4-H Youth Teaching Youth

We train teens to take an active role teaching younger kids about healthy living. These teens take charge of the session and lead the sessions on their own. Teens receive training on classroom management and public speaking skills from 4-H staff before getting started. 

Partnerships with schools and youth programs

Our teens are trained to deliver our programming independently. This model builds strong relationships between youth, teens and partners. It also extends the reach of the 4-H program  beyond what staff alone could accomplish.

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.

Leadership and career exploration for teens

Through this program, teen teachers and their younger peers build a relationship that benefits both sides. The teens are mastering new skills and appreciate being viewed as a role model. The younger youth see their peers making positive choices, showing compassion for each student in the session and acting as role models.

Research shows that cross-age teaching is an effective delivery method because pre-teens and younger children respond more to behavior modeled by teens than by adults. Younger youth look up to teens, so rapport is established very quickly. Some researchers say it's the most effective way of providing opportunities for positive youth development and teaching youth to avoid delinquent behaviors.

Are you a student in grades 8-12? Apply to be a teen teacher!

Learn more

We have lessons and videos for those who want to dig deeper. Check out the 4-H Youth Teaching Youth Google Site.


Amber Shanahan, shanahan@umn.edu

Reviewed in 2020

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