Monday, October 10, 2016

Understanding the Teen Brain

I had the privilege of attending a two day training hosted by Solano County Probation last week on the teenage brain. The title of the session was, "Policing the Teen Brain." The training was actually focused on law enforcement and probation officers but it has so much relevance for anyone that works with youth on a regular basis. It is so important as adults that we are aware of how teens process and respond, so that we can more appropriately engage with our youth and de-escalate situations. Check out the resources provided by Strategies for Youth:

My takeaways from the training were more effective ways of communicating and interacting with youth based on brain science. 
  • The teen brain is going through massive changes
  • Youth perceive, process, and respond differently than adults
  • Youth don't see, hear, understand, or act like adults consistently
  • The brain finished growing at age 25
  • Adolescence is a period through which youth pass
When dealing with youth and their behaviors, keep in mind ALL that lies under the surface. Behaviors are the surface, life experiences are underneath. 

We must be flexible and adjust our styles. Everyone is not coming with the same experiences and background knowledge.  Take a look at the speed limit sign below. Does this sign symbolize how many of your students feel in class each day?  

Now, go one step further and add traumatic events or mental illness to the life experiences of a youth. That only further compounds the importance and necessity for caring adults and adults that will take time to listen and build relationships. Did You Know: 4 million children and adolescents suffer from a serious mental illness.  Did You Know: 1 in 5 teens have a mental illness.  We MUST take the time to learn, understand, and apply research based, brain science strategies in working with our youth. If we don't face the realities and adjust our approaches we will be failing the young people of today.

Continue to be innovativecreative, and a model of excellence!

No comments:

Post a Comment