Sunday, September 23, 2012

Strategies to Support Adolescent Development

Swain discusses strategies to support adolescent development through middle and high school at the formative time in their lives, “…by giving them strong bonds with teachers, a sense of community, and consistent routines.”

First, Swain discusses students’ need to establish strong bonds with teachers. At my school site, I see these bonds grow. My co-operating teacher talks to and calls her students’ by name, takes an interest in students’ lives, treats students as individuals, and greets and welcomes each student. Teachers also connect classroom learning with career-goals—including reasons to read and write and how high school, college, and degrees impacts their earning potential and career choices.

Second, for a sense of community, she discusses strategies that give students belonging when they, “…learn the names of their peers and something special about each person.” This happened in my classroom when students got to know each other through introductions and interviews during the first weeks of school. Working together in a variety of groups and pairs helps form in-class communities; while participating in study buddy groups helps students to form communities that stretch beyond the classroom.

Third, consistent routines are, “…vital for student learning…what to expect from the teacher, and how to act.” Considering all of the transitions in a given class (not to mention that each class has its own routines), students need modeling, clarity, and regularity in process and procedures for administrative aspects (papers) and social aspects (asking questions, participating in a group). 

Source: Swain, C. (2011). The Care and Support of Teenagers, Educational Leadership, 68. 

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