Monday, October 15, 2012

Teaching For Adolescent Minds

The knowledge of adolescent brain development goes a log way in helping teachers in making decisions about classroom management and teaching strategies. As a middle school teacher, I know it can be very challenging to engage a class full of students in the subjects like math and science. Since the adolescent minds can’t analyze things from different perspectives yet, it becomes the teacher’s responsibility to give them a purpose, a way to connect what they earn in school with their real lives. That’s why I plan for an engaging anticipatory activity at the beginning of a lesson.
I always think about ways to tap into their long-term memories. When I plan a lesson, I try to incorporate various ways to repeat the content, like, have the students listen to a lecture or instruction, let them work on an activity, have them write the content they just learned, engage them in a discussion or have them say it in some way and show a visual or use projector so that they can see it. In this way, they are using different senses to access the same information and it gets engraved in their minds.
Adolescence is when they brains synapses start specializing, cutting off the ones that are weak and developing the strong one more. This is when environment an detaching can step up to nurture the development. I would always keep my expectations high for my students, so that they are always being challenged to put in their best effort, and hence, contributing to their brain development in a meaningful way. This also happens to be the age when the limbic system encourages the individual to take more risks and enjoy it. So, I would certainly use this time to serve more and newer challenges for my students.   

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