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Developmental theories of adolescence

Watch as Katherine Main talks about the developmental theories of adolescence.
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Early adolescence is an important stage in a child’s development. Changes in young people align with the onset of puberty and other significant physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that are occurring. During this time, experiencing positive relationships, being genuinely engaged in learning, and developing high self-esteem can have a major and lasting impact on a young person’s life. This is also a time when young people form the values and dispositions that will direct their attitudes and behaviours into adulthood. As such, these formative years provide a second window of opportunity, the first being in infancy, to significantly alter the life course of individuals.
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Laurence Steinberg argued that, although the stereotypical view is that adolescence is a time of confusion, adults are far more bewildered by adolescence than are young people themselves. Based on more than 40 years of experience in researching adolescent development, Steinberg’s clarion call is for adults to start thinking differently about adolescence and adolescents. The last two decades have seen significant progress. Research has become less fragmented and has begun to recognise the integrated and complex nature of human development. Improved understandings of adolescence has come from the combined fields of behavioural, social, and neurological sciences.
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This integrated approach has extended the focus beyond developmentalism to include a sociocultural lens that considers the broader societal influences together with the physical, cognitive, social, and emotional changes that occur during adolescence. Steinberg noted that collectively research from these fields has provided those who interact with young adolescents with a sensible foundation in ways that are more likely to succeed.

As we know, adolescence is now recognised as a time of opportunity and growth. It is a stage of development which strongly influences the future lives of young people.

In this video we will consider early adolescence as an important stage where changes in young people align with the onset of puberty and other significant physical, cognitive, social and emotional changes.

We will consider how experiencing positive relationships, being genuinely engaged in learning and developing high self-esteem can have a major and lasting impact on young people’s lives.

In the next step we’ll take a look at adolescent development across the four domains: physical, social, emotional and cognitive.

Your task

Watch the video and note down some of the key concepts discussed, then search the web for further resources that support the outcomes of the research by Laurence Steinberg.1

Share the links to the resources you find in the comments.

Don’t forget to take a look at the resources other learners have shared.

References

  1. Steinberg L. Age of opportunity: Lessons from the new science of adolescence. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 2014. 

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