I want to invite you to test your understanding of adolescent development – the typical milestones, events, and tasks that young people have to develop or cope with. Let’s divide you into three groups. One group will investigate the elementary school, one middle school, and one high school. We included elementary school since puberty and adolescence start there for some youth.
In your group, think about the development during that time – physically, socially, emotionally, cognitively, and morally. What skills and competencies are they developing? Also, think about the challenges they face during that time: significant events or changes that might influence their behavior and development.
Work on it collectively as a group. You can use words, symbols, or pictures to record your events and tasks.
Have groups report out, starting with elementary school.
Ask after each group report if others have questions or want to add something.
Add essential tasks and events if they are missing.
Thank the groups for doing a good job.
Refer to the handout “Stages of Adolescent Development” as a reference. Also, highlight the additional resource, “Teen Years Explained,” a comprehensive publication by the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, which is available for free download (listed on the “Section 1: Resources & References” handout).
Keep in mind that developmental psychologists are moving away from using milestones to describe adolescent development. Young people often do not progress through milestones; their growth jumps up and down in these charts. However, developmental charts can still be helpful as a general guide when working with youth and developing program activities.
Slide 14: Tasks of Adolescence
Text: (click through the topics)
Reviewing adolescent development as we just did, we realize that adolescents face many tasks and challenges during this time. Here is a summary:
Tasks of Adolescence
Adjust to maturing bodies and feelings
Renegotiate relationships with adults
Take on increasingly mature roles and responsibilities
Develop/apply abstract thinking skills
Develop identity (different aspects)
Form friendships that are close and supportive
Develop/use more complex perspective-taking
Develop/apply new coping skills
Identify moral standards, values, and beliefs
Understand/express more complex emotional experiences