Lesson of the Day: ‘High Schoolers Across the Country Are Seeking “Teenager Therapy’’’

Lesson of the Day: ‘High Schoolers Across the Country Are Seeking “Teenager Therapy’’’

Featured Article: “High Schoolers Across the Country Are Seeking ‘Teenager Therapy’” by Taylor Lorenz

As the coronavirus pandemic has upended school, summer plans and daily life for millions of teenagers, many are turning to a podcast to cope. “Teenager Therapy,” hosted by five rising seniors at Loara High School in Anaheim, Calif., has become a lifeline for kids and a breakout hit.

In this lesson, you will learn about the podcast, its young creators and the reasons for their success. In the Going Further activity, you will design your own podcast.

How familiar are you with the growing world of podcasting? Do you have some favorite podcasts? What do you like about them? When and how do you tend to listen?

If you’ve never listened to a podcast, what subjects do you think might interest you?

Now, take five minutes to listen to an episode from the “Teenager Therapy” podcast above. Then answer the following questions:

  • What do you notice?

  • What are the qualities you think make the podcast so popular?

  • Which aspect do you find most appealing and why? Do you relate to any of the podcasters’ interests, views and experiences?

Read the article, then answer the following questions:

1. Who are the five teenagers who created the “Teenager Therapy” podcast? What in their personal biographies do you find most interesting?

2. What goals do the young creators have for the podcast? Why is it important for the podcast to be “raw and authentic,” according to Gael Aitor, 17, one of the show’s hosts?

3. How has the podcast grown and changed over time? What lessons have the five teenagers learned about making a successful and engaging podcast?

4. What are some of the topics and themes addressed on the podcast? Which do you find most relevant and why? Have you ever turned to a podcast or other type of media as a form of “therapy”?

5. What are some reasons that account for the success of the podcast according to its creators and fans? Which reasons ring most true for you?

6. Does reading the article make you want to listen to “Teenager Therapy” or to other podcasts? Tell us why or why not.

Design your own podcast.

1. If you could create your own podcast, what would it be?

What topics and themes would you want to address and explore? What style or format might you use? Who would be your desired audience? What would you hope your podcast would achieve?

Would your ideal podcast be scripted or spontaneous, as in “Teenager Therapy”? Would it be a conversation or a solo-cast monologue? Would you include music or interviews? Would it be light and funny or serious in tone?

For inspiration, you might listen to more episodes of “Teenager Therapy” or check out some of these popular podcasts. You might also listen to past winners of the Learning Network’s annual podcast contest.

2. Then come up with a podcast name, a tagline and a two-sentence synopsis for your show.

Your name and tagline should be catchy and appeal to your target audience, and the synopsis should provide a clear idea of what the podcast is about. Keep in mind, audiences have a lot of options — so it should be distinctive and original.

Use “Teenage Therapy” as a model: Their tagline is “Because We Have Problems Too,” and the synopsis on their website is: “Five stressed, sleep deprived, yet energetic teens sit down and talk about the struggles that come with being a teenager. Is high school really as bad as everyone says?”

3. If you have time and are inspired, write a script and record the first 60 seconds of your podcast. You can use our podcast planning form to help you plan and outline your show, and you can find some recording tips here. In addition, a past winner of our contest has created a student podcast guide to walk students through creating their own podcast.

When you are done, share and celebrate your projects with your class!

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