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ERIC Number: EJ1068922
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2015
Pages: N/A
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0145-9635
New Foundations of Adolescent Learning: Lessons from Behavioral Science, Social Science, and Neuroscience
Steinberg, Laurence
Independent School, v74 n3 Spr 2015
When adolescents in the United States of America trail much of the world on measures of school achievement, but are among the world leaders in violence, unwanted pregnancy, STDs, abortion, binge drinking, marijuana use, obesity, and unhappiness, it is time to admit that something is wrong with the way that the country is raising its young people. Laurence Steinberg calls for the need to start thinking differently about adolescence in the United States. He writes here that during the last 15 years, we've learned a great deal about adolescence as a stage of development, in part because of tremendous advances in our understanding of how the brain changes during this period. Whereas it was once thought that brain development was more or less complete by the end of childhood, because the brain reaches its full adult size by then, new research shows that the brain continues to mature well into one's twenties. The changes that take place in the brain during adolescence are not so much about growth as they are about reorganization. What distinguishes adolescence from other periods in brain development is not the fact that reorganization is taking place, but where it is happening. It occurs primarily in two regions--the prefrontal cortex and the limbic system. The prefrontal cortex sits immediately behind your forehead, and it is the main brain area responsible for self regulation. It makes us rational. The limbic system is deep in the center of the brain, beneath the cortex. The limbic system plays an especially important role in generating emotions. The story of adolescence is the story of how these regions learn to work together. It is a tale that unfolds in three overlapping phases namely (1) Starting the engines; (2) Developing a better braking system; and (3) Putting a skilled driver behind the wheel. This article presents a few of the lessons from behavioral science, social science, and neuroscience as they pertain to adolescent development, education, and well being. The author makes the case that if parents and educators pay close attention to the lessons learned, they can take advantage of them to provide what young people need in order to develop into well-adjusted, successful young adults.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A