Obviously, the first step for a teacher of young adolescence is to understand the nature of adolescence and its implications in the classroom. Beyond that, the opportunity exists to create positive outcomes by honoring adolescence as a life transition. The curriculum can be interwoven with literature, art, and history chosen to give the students a sense of continuity and kinship with a developmental experience common to all. Gentle transitions and opportunities to succeed should be the operating mode. Supporting self-esteem and acknowledging the challenges of puberty creates a safer environment in which to adapt to the rapidly occurring internal changes. Adolescence is a time where connectedness, meaningful learning, and emotional (and physical) safety are particularly helpful to students. The 5th grade teacher in many ways launches students on their journey of adolescent expansion. Accepting that and creating the transitions, understanding, and support to empower the experience are my intentions as regards adolescence in my classroom.
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Berliner, B. (1993). Adolescence, school transitions, and prevention: A research-based primer. Western Regional Center for Drug-Free Schools and Communities (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED387746). Retrieved February 12, 2010 from EBSCOHost ERIC database, Portland, OR.
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