The Promise of Adolescence, a recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, examines the neurobiological and socio-behavioral science of adolescent development and identifies how these findings can be applied to four key sectors: health, education, justice, and child welfare.
Our understanding of adolescence has fundamentally changed over the past several decades. New insights from research reveal how changes in brain structure and function (such as the strengthening of connections within and between brain regions and the pruning away of unused connections) that occur during adolescence afford young people a remarkable capacity to learn, adapt to changes, and explore their own creativity. But this understanding is not reflected in the current structure of the U.S. education system, which was largely designed for an earlier era. Schools must broaden their missions to meet the needs of modern adolescents. This will require schools to become more culturally competent (meaning understanding differences in background and building on adolescents’ varying strengths), to emphasize non-academic skill building (like developing strong interpersonal skills), and to help young people navigate numerous educational and career opportunities. The secondary school system of the future must meet teens “where they are” and offer differentiated and responsive academic opportunities, including individualized instruction, tutoring, and credentialing.
This webinar explored recent scientific advances in our understanding of adolescent development as well as promising strategies for building the education system of the future. Two members of the expert committee that authored The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth, Nancy E. Hill (Harvard University) and Michelle Jackson (Stanford University), discussed recent advances in our understanding of adolescence and opportunities for continued reform in the education system. Contact Dara Shefska with questions.
Learn more about The Promise of Adolescence: Realizing Opportunity for All Youth Webinar Series.