Running Head: EDUCATING TWEENS AND TEENS The teenage brain, behavior, and the connection to education The teenage brain, behavior, and the connection to education The teenage years are often seen as a hormonal gauntlet that must be run in order to get to adulthood…
The brain is growing and changing, getting rid of information that seems to have no purpose and building pathways of behavior built upon observations on how to behave in the world. Where the family was once the center of learning, during the adolescent years, the world becomes the representation of knowledge. The size of the world is the key to finding the best possible outcomes, thus through understanding the way in which the adolescent brain works, a better understanding of how to teach teens and tweens emerges in order to create better prepared adults. The teenage mind is defined by its ability to appear to work like that of an adult, but in truth it is set to work in a very different manner. Parents are always shaking their heads and wondering why their teenagers behave the way that they do, making decisions that seem to have no reason and acting impulsively. The blame is often placed upon hormones, the common terminology reflecting an idea that it is the development of the body that is placing the teenage mind in a state of erratic behavior. Advances in neuroscience have concluded that it is not a hormonal issue that makes the behavior of teenagers so radically different than that of adults, but it is a development issue, the brain still in a state of construction in which it is still only at the stage of design, the grey matter physically being built and in the process of cutting away old synapses that are no longer needed (Feinstein, 2009, p. 4). The brain is literally growing and changing, the future of the adult in the hands of the choices made by the teenager, the brain growing in response to those changes. The nature of the teenage brain is such that in order to best teach them new methods in education may be important for producing higher levels of learning. Mind-mapping is a technique that allows for a broader use of the brain in order to see how connections are being made between varieties of concepts. Colors, pictures, symbols, and words are all combined to create a picture of how they combine to form thought (Philp, 2007, p. 17). This concept allows for an educator or academic to see how the connections between concepts are being formed for the teenage mind. According to Philp (2007) each of these conceptualized maps will be different, showing how the ways in which learning are taking place are is varied between individuals. Because the mind is being deconstructed and reconstructed, the mind of each teen is different, creating a chaotic social mix of individuals all trying to conform to teaching methods through perspectives that are all over the place. Sylwester (2007) breaks down the purpose of the brain into the “planning, regulation, and prediction of movements” (p. 15). The process of thinking can be looked at as a part of the idea of movement. One of the newest developments in understanding how learning is accomplished is through the idea of mirror neurons. The mind will function to accomplish a task, each section of the task being done through sequences of impulses that control the task. Templates of a task can also be created through what is termed mirror neurons that see the task accomplished and make plan from which the individual can also repeat that task (Stamenov, 2002, p. 273). In looking at adolescence, one can see that this process has begun new and is in ...
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