The Adolescent Brain

In the past 20 years of my professional life as a teacher and teacher leader, I’ve spent a lot of time with teens. As such, I’ve always been intrigued by their cognitive development. Until recently, the general assumption was that the adolescent brain was that of a “young adult”, and thus similar to adult brains. Recent research indicates, however, that this is not the case at all. Rather, it exhibits a different learning level ability combined with some possible vulnerabilities in a still-developing brain.

Thus, we should approach the adolescent brain with certain considerations for teaching and learning (Jensen, 2015) in mind:

  1. Learning is based on meaning and emotional response;
  2. Children and teens can imprint on their experiences; and
  3. The brain is social and thus development requires interaction.

Neurology expert and Harvard Medical School professor Frances Jensen provides more insight into this fascinating topic below.