Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Teaching teenagers in the 21st century- part 1

The word teenager might sound dreadful for the majority of teachers who hear it. Certainly, in addition to this feeling, countless questions about this age are always raised for both parents and teachers whenever they have to face some conflicting teenager attitude.
Which teacher has never experienced problems with moody, sarcastic or negative interchanges in teaching teenagers? It took me ten years to, at least, come up with ways to count to ten before reacting to a situation similar to  the ones listed above.
Undoubtedly, teaching teenagers is a very tough job. However, nobody has ever said teaching would be always a candy land. We have to be  ready to redefine and renegotiate our authority with  teens. And the best, wiser and more comfortable way to acquire these abilities is found when we try to understand what is happening inside these precious minds.
What is a teenager?
 A teenager could be well-described as a person who is facing the exhaustive period of ignorance and inquires about not being a child nor an adult.
In the past, scientists nurtured the belief that the human brain was a finished product by the time a person reached the age of 12. Recent researches happen to prove that fully brain maturity only happens at the age of 25, though.
Hormones start to change the teenage body when they reach the age of 12, sometimes even less than this. At the puberty phase, intense sex hormones discharges are very active in the brain influencing directly the neurochemicals that regulate mood and excitability. The part of the brain which is responsible for things such as sensation seeking is getting turned on in huge ways around this period. It explains why,most of the time, teenagers tend to swift from  hurtfully and impulsive behavior to peaceful and rational attitudes.
 On the other hand, the brain area which is home of the executive functions such as planning, setting priorities, organizing thoughts, suppressing impulses is the very last one to be shaped. We find here the explanation for all the impulsive decisions and lack of judgment which is peculiar to this age group. According to Laurence Steinberg there is a  time gap between when things impel kids  toward taking risks early in adolescence , and when things that allow people to think before they act come online”
It`s like turning on the engine of a  car without a skilled driver at the wheel.
It is a clear fact that at this developmental stage, behavior changes because the brain is changing. It might be useful to reflect on the fact that teenage behavior is not a matter of determination to drive one crazy but a consequence of a non-yet-finished product.
At such a stormy phase it is essential to help teenagers make up for what their brain still lacks by providing guidance through tough decisions. And do not forget you can always rely on love and patience. 

A Specialist word on the subject. - Frances Jensen

- Understanding theTeenage Brain for parents of Adolescents by Gleen Golberg, J.D.,R.C.- adolescent Speacialist & Parent Coach
-What makes Teens Tick - By Claudia Wallis Friday, Sept. 26, 2008
Read more:,9171,994126,00.html#ixzz1ZuZG9Q6K


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