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Rygaards International School Parent Forum 1. How Teenagers Think and Learn. Being a Teenager. Moody Uncommunicative Withdrawn Hormonal Tumultuous Messy & Disorganised Argumentative Confused. Key Reference Points.

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being a teenager
Being a Teenager
  • Moody
  • Uncommunicative
  • Withdrawn
  • Hormonal
  • Tumultuous
  • Messy & Disorganised
  • Argumentative
  • Confused
key reference points
Key Reference Points
  • Work by Dr. Michael Nagel -Associate Professor and the Head of Education Programs in the School of Science in Education at the University of the Sunshine Coast


Frontal Cortex

Corpus Callosum




”If an adolescent is doing music, sports or academics, those are the connections that will be hard wired. If they’re lying an the couch or playing video games or watching MTV, those are the cells and connections that are going to survive”

J. Giedd (Chief of Brain Imaging – Child Psychology Branch, National Institute of Mental Health)

the gendered brain
The ‘Gendered’ Brain

”Neoroscientists are uncovering anatomical, chemical and functional differences betwen the brains of men and women ... These variations occur throughout the brain, in regions involved in language, memory, emotion, vision, hearing and navigation ... Researchers are working to determine how these sex-based variations relate to differences in male and female cognition and behaviour.”

Dr. Larry Cahill University of California

left and right hemispheres
Left and Right Hemispheres

Your right hemisphere tries to say the colour, but your left hemisphere insists on reading the word

left and right hemispheres1
Left and Right Hemispheres
  • Research shows that a boy’s brain has a lot more wiring on the right side ... In practical terms this means that a typical male brain has a propensity for spatial arrangements, problem solving and moving objects through space.
left and right hemispheres2
Left and Right Hemispheres
  • The female brain processes more emotive stimulants through more senses, and more completely than does the male. It also verbalises emotive information quickly
  • The anterior cingulate cortex and the orbito frontal cortex have been found to be larger in women…both regions play a significant role in emotional processing in social and non-social contexts. Their increased size accounts for sex differences in emotional processing. Blakemore and Frith (2005)
  • Emotions activate both hemispheres of the female brain yet emotions are activated in the right hemisphere of the male brain
common neuro sense
Common Neuro-sense
  • Exercise and Movement
  • Exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects in specific areas of cognitive function that are rooted in the frontal and pre-frontal regions of the brain
  • Exercise (daily)movement are crucial components for the developing brain and for enhanced cognition

What are your children eating?

Sugars? Carbonated Drinks?

The growing brain is incredibly vulnerable to sugar, especially simple sugars ... Attention spans, the ability to focus, behaviour and activity levels are all influenced by varying degrees of sugar ... This becomes worse when sugar is taken with carbohydrates


stress anxiety and cortisol
Stress, Anxiety and Cortisol

Factors that contribute to adolescent stress include:

  • Peer relations ... Especially for girls
  • Bullying ... Increasingly cyberbullying
  • Poor body image
  • Parental relations/family conflict
  • Homework
  • Lost childhood
  • Struggle for independence
  • Lack of a ‘voice’ in decision making
  • School transitions
  • Unrealistic expectations of parents and teachers
z zzzzzz sleep zzzzzzz
zzzzzzz ...SLEEP...zzzzzzz
  • Research shows that the brain consolidates and practices what is learned during the day after the students (or adults, for that matter) go to sleep.
  • Recent research on teen sleep patterns challenges traditional perceptions of sleep – wake homeostasis
  • Teens’ contrary circadian rhythms – sleep later, drowsy in the morning, long hours awake does not necessarily lead to tiredness
  • Sleep Debt and underperformance
  • How many hours sleep does your child get - 9 hours?
good sleep habits
Good Sleep Habits
  • Dimming the lights at night and getting lots of daylight in the morning can help.
  • Having a routine bedtime of 10 p.m., sleeping in a cool environment and turning off music, the Internet, and televisions will help to reset the body clock.
  • And though sleeping in is a good thing, trying to get up after only an extra hour or two is a lot better than "binge-sleeping" on the weekends. If a student is used to getting up at 6:30 a.m., they shouldn't sleep until noon on the weekend. That simply confuses their bodies.
  • Lots of sports helps, too -- better earlier in the day than late.
new people new brain
New People ... New Brain!?
  • Digital Natives (Prensky 2005)
  • Cognizant of a global community
  • Earlier in their maturation into adulthood mature relationships
  • Raised to expect success
  • Use humour commonly
  • Ambivalent towards authority
  • Financially savvy (especially as consumers) and futures oriented
  • See the world differently!
digital natives
Digital Natives

Conventional Speed TWITCH SPEED

Step- by- Step RANDOM ACCESS



Work- Oriented PLAY ORIENTED

Stand- Alone CONNECTED

the learning process how can we help
The Learning Process: How can we help?
  • Environment
  • New Learning Paradigms
  • Expectations and Support
  • Intergrated and Differentiated Learning
  • Understanding Emotional Intelligence
  • Intergrated and Differentiated Learning
enhancing emotional intelligence
Enhancing Emotional Intelligence
  • Increasingly give responsibility ... But don’t underestimate your influence
  • Create a focused and uninterrupted time to share
  • Show appreciation for your child’s contributions
  • Ask for suggestions and opinions
  • Encourage participation in decision making
  • Accept mistakes
  • Emphasis the process over the result
  • Turn liabilities into assets
  • Have positive and realistic expectations
  • Develop alternative ways of viewing situations
  • Explore for and help children to identify and change negative self-talk
  • NEVER underestimate your influence

Enhancing E.I. is ”associated with scholastic achievement” Downey et al 2007


The Greatest single determinant in healthy neurological development is that of a positive loving relationship with parents and/or primary caregivers

”It is not the brains that matter most, but that which guides them”

Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 – 1881)