Utilizing Adolescent Brain Research and Principles from Attachment Theory to Improve Student Success
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Adolescence is a period in human growth that sees great change in brain development. While researchers have done tremendous work on the topic of attachment and connectedness for infants and adults, an emerging focus of research on adolescents is required in order to bridge the gap between childhood and adulthood. In the last 15 years, major research has been done specifically on how the adolescent brain develops and prunes information. This paper takes information from adolescent brain research, along with social emotional learning skills and attitudes and provides practical information for schools, parents, and governments on how to improve student outcomes. Many elementary schools have programs that specifically teach social and emotional skills as well as academic skills, while secondary schools seem to focus more on academic pursuits. As educators continue to focus on developing well-rounded individuals, it is imperative that we include academic as well as social emotional education at all levels of school. Where there may have been doubt before as to the efficacy of teaching and modeling adolescents in social emotional learning, the research that has been done on the developing adolescent brain supports the idea that secondary schools should be including programs and educators that support the attitudes, skills and education of social emotional learning in addition to academics.