April 24, 2018

Teacher Advice: Understanding the Teenage Brain

“Our youth now love luxury. They have bad manners, contempt for authority; they show disrespect for their elders and love chatter in place of exercise; they no longer rise when elders enter the room; they contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up their food and tyrannize their teachers.”
–Socrates, Fifth Century B.C.

Jacqueline Johnson, an 11th and 12th grade English teacher in Homewood, Illinois, does a fantastic job of providing teaching advice to parents and teachers on understanding the teenage brain.

After completing Teaching Channel continuing education course 693: Fully Wired: Understanding and Empowering Adolescents, Jacqueline garnered great information that helps connect with her high school students.

  • The pruning of neurons affects adolescents because it can change their personality. It also affects their impulse control. Some teenagers do things and do not understand why. This shows that teenagers who mouth off need adult reinforecements and coping mechanisms so that poor behavior is not repeated.
  • Adolescents are not skilled at interpreting emotions because the part of their brains that can read emotions is not fully developed.

A student could have their phone out. They know they are not supposed to have it out. I could have an annoyed expression on my face. I could tell them to give me the phone. But teenagers can interpret my annoyance and tone as anger and could get defensive.

I need to mask my facial expressions. I think when teenagers are called out for misbehaving, they get defensive. My body language and posture could give them the wrong idea. I have to be cognizant of my body language.

Ways to improve your communication and teaching to teenagers:

  • Begin with I statements rather than you statements.
  • Avoid generalizations.
  • Be specific as possible when asking for something.
  • Ask questions that require more than one or two work answers.
  • Stick to one topic at a time.
  • Avoid attacking.
  • Name your feeling and state the reason for your feeling.
  • Stte what you would like.
  • Listening is more important than talking.
  • Keep an open posture.
  • Ask clarifying questions.
  • Check to make sure you are understanding correctly.

Learners Edge is passionately committed to providing you with continuing education coursework, materials, and tools that will help you succeed in your classroom and in your career.

Offering more than 100 print-based or online courses for teachers, you can earn the graduate credit you need for salary advancement and meet your professional development needs. Contact us today to get started!


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