INSET : Understanding the Adolescent Brain

teenage brain

Photo courtesy of Andrew Neel Andrew Neel

“Fantastic level of information portrayed by a highly knowledgeable trainer.”
Assistant Headteacher, Surrey

For many years we have blamed challenging teenage behaviour on hormones but that is only part of the story. Insights provided by recent developments in neuroscience have allowed us to understand how the brain has evolved through time, and to understand how the human brain matures.

Understanding Adolescent Brain development

Essentially, we should think of the teenage brain as a work in progress and to remember that, as an organ in such a state of flux, the way it processes situations and information can be muddled. Until around the age of 24, the brain is undergoing the most extraordinary dips and peaks in its development, and this has a huge effect on learning, thinking, behaviour and attitude.

Teenage ‘angst’ isn’t an illness…


• Nearly half of all teenagers say that they are overwhelmed by emotional problems and are struggling to cope at school


• However the majority of these teenagers are not ill and whilst there is no doubt that adolescence is a difficult time it’s important to remember that, whilst perhaps worrying, this is neither abnormal nor unusual.


• It’s totally natural to occasionally feel lost, overwhelmed or upset and it is important not to dent their confidence even further by telling them there is something wrong with them.

Today’s teenagers feel under more pressure to be successful at a younger age, to make decisions earlier, and to generally to grow up faster than previous generations.

Who is this INSET for?

Teachers and Parents can benefit hugely from having a wider and deeper understanding of the developing adolescent brain.

This INSET is would be ideal as a Keynote speech at an educational conference or as talk for parents.

This INSET helps us to understand their fight and flight instincts and their (seemingly) unreasonable responses to our perfectly reasonable requests…whilst at the same time offering advice and practical solutions to the challenges facing, and presented by, emerging adolescents and young people both in school and at home.

INSET Outline

The Evolving Adolescent Brain

From here to maturity… the triune brain and working with lizards

Brain basics 

The role of the frontal cortex and the amygdala

Growing and pruning

It’s all about change – what they gain and lose during the teenage years

Powerful emotions

We can’t always make it better but we can definitely make it worse

Learner stress and exams – a tough time for all

The adolescent mandate

Separation and the need for independence

Getting the message: how to talk, and listen, to teens

Teenage kicks: drink and drugs and the potential damage to memory and mental health

To sleep or not to sleep?

Increasing levels of anxiety, obesity and late-night use of phones, tablets and computers have been cited as possible causes for what is acknowledged as a hidden health crisis. The hormone melatonin, which encourages sleep, kicks in around 10.00 p.m. for adults but 1.00 a.m. for teens…is this a problem? Probably.

Questions, questions

Why all the anger and worry? Why can’t they switch off their phones? Why do friends become all-important? Why do they go out without their coats..? How do we look after their mental health?

 

“Thank you for helping us to make sense of what is happening with our son – just what we needed – we’ll now parent with more confidence and knowledge!”
Parent, London

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