Friday, October 19, 2012

Planning Lessons for Adolescents

The teenage brain functions quite differently than a fully developed adult brain.  Teachers have the perfect opportunity, and also a huge responsibility, to shape the adolescent brain because it is very malleable.  In planning lessons for the teenage brain and its unique characteristics, I need to use specific strategies to pique their interest, target their reward system, and make strong and lasting impressions, lest the information and connections get removed out during the synaptic pruning process.

In my lessons, I would like to incorporate the content into an area or subject that affects them so there is a personal connection and application.  I would also like to find exciting and active activities (after all, what is an activity if it is not active?) that get them physically moving, and encourage them to compete and take risks.  This point is a little more difficult given that I teach math and math is typically a quiet, stationary, reflective and repetitive study.  The excitement doesn’t need to occur every day, but targeting one day a week with a fun activity they can look forward to would probably be sufficient to maintain their interest and reinforce the content.  One easy adolescent brain strategy to use in math is repetition.  Pairing repetition with mnemonical devices (PEMDAS, Soh-Cah-Toa, etc.), music or poetry could also help them to recall the information.

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